Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak made a move that helps the Phillies in more ways than one
Everyone knew the Phillies needed to acquire a veteran bat to help mentor the young players.
According to multiple reports, the Phillies have acquired veteran second baseman Howie Kendrick for 1B/OF Darin Ruf and INF Darnell Sweeney. Los Angeles originally traded Sweeney to the Phillies for Chase Utley.
The Dodgers made the official announcement on their Twitter page Friday afternoon.
Howie Kendrick can play second base for the Phillies, who have reportedly been willing to trade Cesar Hernandez. Making this move could clear a path for prospect Scott Kingery, who is expected to start the season in Double-A Reading and possibly advance to Lehigh Valley.
Kendrick can also play left field, but the Phillies are hoping Odubel Herrera or prospect Roman Quinn can be the guy in left.
Todd Zolecki reports that left field is however more likely for Kendrick.
Darin Ruf was a flash in the pan power hitter in Double-A where he took advantage of Reading’s small ballpark and broke the franchise home run record. He has struggled to transition to the big leagues, and proved to be inconsistent during his five seasons in Philadelphia.
Ruf had a chance to be the starting right fielder and potentially replace Ryan Howard at first base. Tommy Joseph now looks to be the immediate future are first, with Rhys Hoskins looming in the minors after mashing his way through Reading.
In 286 games for the Phillies, Ruf hit 32 home runs while striking out 204 times and hitting .245 in parts of five years. At 30-years-old, he was at risk of being designated for assignment by the Phillies this offseason.
Ruf traditionally hits well against lefties, sporting a .299 average with 17 home runs.
Sweeney came to Philadelphia for Chase Utley, but failed to stay in the big leagues for long. He played in 37 games for Philly following the Utley trade and could not produce at the big league level. He hit .176 with three home runs and 27 strikeouts during his time in Philadelphia. Last season he spent his entire year with the Iron Pigs.
Last year Kendrick signed a two year, $20,000,000 contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including $20,000,000 guaranteed. The Phillies will pay him $10 million this year, which won’t be an issue for the Phillies.
Kendrick could also become trade bait at the deadline should the Phillies have a prospect ready to play full-time.
With 11 major league seasons under his belt, Kendrick is a career .293 hitter
In 10 games playing inside Citizens Bank Park, Kendrick has a .310 batting average with a home run, three doubles, and a triple.
Kendrick could slide into either the fifth or sixth hole in the Phillies line-up and be a producer that can push through runs and get on base. He will start the season at the ripe age of 33, making him an even better addition compared to an older Brandon Phillips or even Chase Utley.
The trade also opens up a spot on Philadelphia’s 40-man roster, allowing the Phillies to better-protect some of their young talent from the Rule 5 draft this winter.
General Manager Matt Klentak has already been busy this offseason, starting with the trade with the Houston Astros for former closer Matt Neshek.
With cap space and room to add talent, the Phillies could continue to be very active this offseason as they continue their rebuild.