Dodgers acquire Howie Kendrick

ByMark Saxon ESPN logo
Thursday, December 11, 2014

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers overhauled their infield and shook up the third day of the winter meetings with trades with the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels that involved eight players.

The Dodgers acquired All-Star second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Angels for young left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, a player they had acquired hours earlier Wednesday from the Marlins. The Dodgers also got infielder Enrique Hernandez, reliever Chris Hatcher and minor leaguer Austin Barnes from Miami.

The Marlins received Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, pitcher Dan Haren and infielder Miguel Rojas.

The Dodgers have coveted Kendrick, 31, for several years and nearly completed a trade for him involving pitcher Zach Lee in July 2013. The Dodgers were in the midst of a historic 42-8 run at the time and elected not to risk disrupting their roll with a trade.

"We feel like within the totality of the moves, we made ourselves a better team," Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "Adding Howie Kendrick we felt like fit us really well: right-handed bat, tremendous hitter, really good defender, and then the young players we got should help us in 2015 and beyond."

Kendrick has spent all nine of his big league seasons with the Angels. He hit .293 this year with seven homers, 75 RBIs and 14 steals. He will make $9.5 million next season, the final year of his deal, and then can become a free agent.

The Marlins saw a chance to add Gordon, 26, an All-Star and one of the fastest players in the game. His career finally advanced when he made the switch from shortstop to second base going into this past spring.

"The goal is to score runs, and you have a player like Dee Gordon and you combine him with Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of our lineup, and it's a deeper lineup," Marlins general manager Mike Hill said. "It puts pressure on the opposing team and, hopefully, will allow us to score more runs."

Earlier in the day, the Dodgers agreed to a trade to acquire veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney. That deal that has not yet been officially announced. Up-the-middle defense was an issue at times for the Dodgers this past season with Hanley Ramirez at shortstop and Gordon at second. Rollins and Kendrick both rate highly in advanced defensive metrics.

The Marlins also will receive either cash or a player to be named later, likely depending upon whether Haren elects to pitch for them. He told last month that he likely would retire and leave $10 million on the table if traded to a team other than the Angels. He lives with his wife and two small children in Orange County. Haren said late Wednesday he would take some time to decide whether he will agree to the trade or retire.

"I have been notified of the trade to Miami. My strong desire to remain in Southern California has been well-documented," Haren said in a texted statement. "I will have to evaluate my options carefully before making any decisions."

Hill said he spoke with Haren, who went 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA this past season, and tried to sell him on the Marlins' rebuilding effort.

"I talked to him about the talent we've assembled down in Miami and how I thought he'd be a great fit for what we were trying to do," Hill said. "In the conversation, he recognized the talent we have in South Florida and that it could potentially be a good spot for him."

Gordon took to Twitter to thank the Dodgers faithful after he was traded.

Gordon is a .272 career hitter in 329 games over four seasons. The left-handed hitter batted .289 with two homers, 34 RBIS, 92 runs and a .329 on-base percentage this year for the Dodgers, while leading the major leagues with 12 triples and 64 stolen bases.

Heaney, 23, was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Oklahoma State and had strong numbers in the minor leagues, although he went 0-3 with a 5.83 ERA in seven games for the Marlins this past season.

"He has No. 2-type ceiling with All-Star potential," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

To help make up for the loss of Kendrick, the Angels acquired 25-year-old infielder Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies for minor league right-hander Jairo Diaz. In 266 games over three seasons, Rutledge is a .259 hitter with 19 homers and 89 RBIs.

Hernandez made his big league debut this year, playing 42 games for Houston and Miami. He hit .248 in 42 games with three homers and 14 RBIs.

Hatcher has appeared in 81 games over four seasons and is 0-4 with a 4.80 ERA.

Barnes, 24, split this past season between Class A and Double-A.

The Dodgers also agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal to acquire free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy, according to sources. And they might not be done with one more day left at the winter meetings.

They have had extensive discussions with other teams about trading one of their extra outfielders, including talks with the San Diego Padres on a deal that would involve Matt Kemp and catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Until Wednesday, the Dodgers' new front-office group had made incremental moves to improve the team's Triple-A depth and the bullpen.

"Going to bed last night, we didn't expect this necessarily to all come together today, but we've obviously had a tremendous amount of conversations with the teams and various agents," Friedman said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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