No. 9: Trading for Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, and Pat Neshek
I lumped all of these trades together because they are all of a similar vein: they fill a short-term need without giving up any long-term value or blocking any prospects. Pat Neshek was acquired for a player to be named later, Clay Buchholz came over in exchange for a second-base prospect who was far down the depth chart, and the Dodgers parted ways with Howie Kendrick for two major-league castoffs in Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney. None of those players had a place on the major-league roster in the long-term, so they didn’t really give much up.
Along with not giving up any long-term value, these trades didn’t block any prospects in the long-term as all three of Neshek, Buchholz, and Kendrick are all on one-year deals. Kendrick has the positional flexibility to start the year in left field and move to another position if and when one of Dylan Cozens, Nick Williams, or Roman Quinn are ready for the major-leagues. Buchholz has experience in the bullpen if the team decides to move him there to make room for one of their many starting pitching prospects, and Neshek isn’t blocking anyone in the bullpen.
Finally, these trades were all smart because each player is on a one-year deal, making them even more attractive at the trade deadline. If any one of these players – as well as Benoit and Jeremy Hellickson – performs at an above-average level in the first half of the season, they could become an interesting trade chip. Philadelphia’s payroll flexibility allows them to pay the entire salary of those contracts, which could help them acquire a better prospect in return for Buchholz, Nehsek, Kendrick, Hellickson, or Benoit.
Klentak even acknowledged the presence of plenty of options for trade chips at next year’s deadline. He told Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, “[W]e have a lot of meaningful players in the last years of their contracts — not just pitchers, but a number of players that could be trade chips.”