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The Dodgers are running pretty good today with the status quo on the offensive side of the ball anyway.
Since it was agreed on that Howie Kendrick would sign a 2 year deal for $20 MIL – this is an economic win.
1st off, the Dodgers avoided the $15.8 MIL Qualifying Offer they extended their 2015 2B, then only had to pad $4.2 MIL to the total for a 2nd season.
This is a loss financially for Kendrick, who must have thought a multi-year offer of 3 – 4 campaigns must have been out there for the same kind of money that Daniel Murphy signed for (3 years at $12 MIL per AAV).
Not only did the Dodgers brass finally reel in their Starting Second Baseman, they were able to add Chase Utley as a backup/quality bench hitter for $7 MIL. If you combined Kendrick and Utley salaries, it is just $1.2 MIL over what would have happened had Kendrick accepted the QO.
Love Kendrick as a professional hitter. The man is a .293/.333/.423 career hitter – and his 2015 season closely resembled this at .295/.336/.409 in 2015 for the Dodger Blue.
It shows that the Dodgers management/ownership is also willing to fork out the necessary dollars to keep up their NL West Division prowess.
As the 3 time defending Division Champs, they are in prime position to challenge the Giants for a 4th year in a row in 2016.
This contract vaults the Dodgers up to around $245 MIL in total team salary in 2016, yet it was a necessary move.
Los Angeles is also staring at a 50% penalty for going over the Luxury Tax Threshold for a 4th straight year. They will pay around $28 MIL with cash situated as it is now.
For the fans that wanted the organization to dole up for the bigger Free Agents, it is hard to fathom paying that 50% penalty for years upon years at the present rate.
This approach has had the super management team of Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes and newly appointed Alex Anthopoulos under heavy scrutiny, but may work out better in the long run.
Had the club inked Zack Greinke to his $34.42 MIL AAV, that would have put them so far in committed $ over the Luxury Tax, that they would never be able to get under for a reset.
With the 2016 season concluding without a CBA after, it is also wise not to be so far over the Luxury Tax mark when they don’t know what the new deal between the MLBPA and the owners will look like.
2017 has them over $203 MIL in contracts guaranteed to 12 guys already, but 8 players will become Free Agents after the 2016 season, and after 2017’s end comes the best news for Dodger fans. Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford will finally be off the books!
The Dodgers have a ton of young talent coming into the fold here. Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda are under team control for a long period of time here. You still have Julio Urias just coming up to the Major Leagues for service time as well.
The Infield is definitely going to be clogged up with Utley, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Guerrero on the depth chart. Guerrero is out of options and will need to be kept on the Major League Roster (or be released, waived or DFA’d).
Los Angeles has also strengthened its bench with this move. The one thing they could still use it Relief help. That may be obtained by signing more Free Agents, or perhaps this may clear the deck for another trade to happen.
The Dodgers were 10th in the NL during 2015 – with a .250 Batting Average, and losing a .293 hitter last year would have been tough for this years lineup.
With Corey Seager for a full year, and a return to prominence for Yasiel Puig, this squad could really put up some runs and improve all facets of the offense.
While the club wasn’t so great at Batting Average, they were 3rd in the Senior Circuit in Slugging Percentage at .413.
One has to also think that Chase Utley will be a lot better in reserve role – compared to his .202/.291/.363 3 Slash Line with the team last year. I would say he could be 80% like his worst year (prior to 2015), where he hit .259/.344/.425 in 2012.
For the record, baseballreference.com has Utley hitting .247/.315/.398 in 2016. I am sure the club would take that.
Whether the implementation of a lot of players on the roster – as opposed to having a limited bench and depth if they would have signed Greinke projects well to the upcoming season is yet to be determined. 4
No doubt they are not as strong in the Rotation at the top. But perhaps the addition of Scott Kazmir, the return of Hyun-jin Ryu, Alex Wood for a full year, and a surprise comeback from Brandon McCarthy could pick up the slack.
Signing Kendrick was the right move all day long. This is one less position with the team having questions for.
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