Outside of Mike Trout, Howie Kendrick was the Los Angeles Angels‘ only reliable offensive player all season. His .301 average was second only to Trout, giving the middle of the Halo order a fearsome bat to compensate for the struggles of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
Kendrick has been on the DL ever since sustaining a knee injury in early August, but if the Angels are smart, they will keep him off the field for as long as possible, perhaps even for the rest of the season.
Why would you bench your second-best hitter when he’s available to play? Well, the most obvious reason is that the Halos have had unbelievably bad luck with injuries this year, and they will need all hands on deck in 2014 if they are to make up for this disastrous season. A healthy Kendrick is integral to that effort, thus there’s no need to risk re-injury when the season’s already lost.
Beyond that, Kendrick’s replacement, Grant Green, has been doing a fine job since he assumed second baseman duties on August 6. Green is hitting .310 for the Angels in 21 games, and is undoubtedly catching the eye of scouts across the league. Putting Green’s talents on display may up the ante in the Angels’ bid to land a starting pitcher this offseason, as teams may offer a decent arm in exchange for a young second baseman.
It’s a shame to keep Kendrick off the field, seeing as he’s been a fan favorite ever since his big league debut in 2006. Even so, the Angels have to be smart and think about the future, which means Kendrick has to stay out.