I’m still getting used to the fact that Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick are now Dodgers. I welcome them with open arms, but their long-tenured careers with Philadelphia and the Angels still has me thinking back to 2009 and cross-town rivalries. Some players, like Juan Uribe, have evolved into Dodgers even coming over from the evil confines of AT &T Park. Uribe has become one of my favorite Dodgers, but I just could never grow to accept “transitioners” like Brian Wilson or Shane Victorino.
Mar 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick were both players I certainly didn’t root for when they played against the Dodgers, but I have always respected their baseball skills. Now that
both are with the Dodgers, for this season anyway, I’m excited to see how they will bolster the middle of the infield and provide some consistent offense out of the lineup.
With Dee Gordon‘s departure, a more experienced second baseman in Howie Kendrick, will now be shoring up the infield defense. If the deal with Miami wasn’t lopsided enough and certainly more advantageous to the Dodgers, the acquisition of long-time Angel Howie Kendrick was a very important move for the new front office who values defense.
On my visit to Camelback Ranch, I noticed that Howie Kendrick wasn’t the loudest personality on the team, and he seemed to be quietly working out with his new teammates. It must be a jolting change for Rollins and Kendrick to be traded after being with the same team their entire career. Kendrick was with the Angels for nine seasons, and Rollins was a Phillie for fifteen seasons. Kendrick and Rollins, now Dodgers, are both having fantastic Springs in Blue.
Kendrick is quietly hitting .412/.429/.618 with a homerun, 4 doubles, 7 RBI, 6 strikeouts and a walk in 35 plate appearances this Spring.
Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times says Kendrick has felt comfortable on his new team.
"“I just know he can hit,” Don Mattingly said of Kendrick, who has a .292/.332/.424 career slash line. “Howie consistently gets good at-bats. And that’s really what we’re looking for.”"
Consistency is just what the Dodgers are looking for from Kendrick at second base. Dee Gordon’s ability to consistently get on base hampered his base stealing and offensive potential. Kendrick provides stability out of second base defensively as well as consistently good at-bats at the plate with a touch of power. Kendrick hit 7 homeruns over in Orange County last season, and he also collected 33 doubles and 5 triples as well.
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Getting used to the fact that Howie Kendrick is the Dodgers second baseman and long-time Philadelphia competitor Jimmy Rollins will be turning double plays with him is difficult to appreciate just yet. I’m still reminiscing about Dee Gordon’s flying triples, his historic thievery on the base path and his unlikely yet acrobatic play at second base. Although I won’t miss the erratic throws into the stands and Hanley Ramirez‘s version of shortstop.
Corey Seager and now Hector Olivera are knocking on the clubhouse doors, but Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe will have one special year together on the infield. Howie Kendrick looks much better in Blue than Red anyway.
The Dodgers take on Kendrick’s former team during the Freeway Series starting on April 2nd at Angel Stadium.