5 Questions About Kansas City Royals Trading for Howie Kendrick
Kansas City Royals: 5 Questions About Trading for Howie Kendrick
Even right after a big move, the Kansas City Royals' rumor mill never stops churning. Immediately following the signing of Norichika Aoki, an evening tweet from the West Coast began a new, intriguing rumor. Not surprisingly, this one involves the Royals' need for a second base upgrade.
I've previously mentioned how important an improvement at second base would be for KC, but the point deserves to be made again and again until someone gets signed. No other team in MLB saw less offensive production at that position than the Royals. KC second basemen combined for 23 extra-base hits last year – nine less than any other team in the league. The Royals tied with two teams for the lowest home run total from that position and ranked 23rd and 24th respectively in RBI and batting average. Needless to say, there is much room for improvement.
Does that mean Kendrick is really worth losing a talented young pitcher? Los Angeles Angels beat writer Mike DiGiovanna tweeted last night about a possible trade between the Halos and the Royals for Howie Kendrick. He went on to tweet that this was based purely on his own speculation, but it is true that L.A. is aiming for a move and would love to find a logical trading counterpart. In his tweet, DiGiovanna named four promising young pitchers: Kyle Zimmer, Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura and Justin Marks.
If you replace the compiled production at second base from last year with Kendrick's 162 game average, the difference is obviously significant. This theoretical change would give the Royals eight more homers, 22 more doubles and an average rising from .243 to .292. Add that to the input from KC newcomer Aoki, and the Royals could project as a legit doubles machine on offense.
Although Kendrick coming to KC sounds swell in theory, the worth of this hypothetical move depends on what the Royals give up to acquire him. Here are five questions the Royals need to ask themselves before considering this move:
5. Would Trading Away a Potential 2014 Starter Be Worth Acquiring Kendrick?
No. Let's just get that one out of the way. DiGiovanna might be getting too much of that California sunshine if he thinks the Royals would part ways with either Duffy or Ventura. Both of them should start in powder blue in 2014.
4. Is Kendrick More Valuable Than Kyle Zimmer?
Here's another easy one – no. Zimmer is showing signs of greatness and ascending the minor-league ranks quickly. Despite his talent, Kendrick is less valuable if only because of his position and his age. A straight trade involving Zimmer for Kendrick would be short-sighted and against-the-grain of the way GM Dayton Moore operates.
3. Is Kendrick More Valuable Than Justin Marks?
In five minor-league seasons, Marks has never recorded an ERA lower than 3.98. Although it would sting to see Marks achieve MLB success elsewhere after trading him away, Kendrick is far more valuable to KC right now. Among the four names mentioned by DiGiovanna, this is the only one that would make sense from the Royals' perspective.
2. Would the Angels Consider Trading Kendrick For Other Available Royals?
Other young, proven pitchers are “very available” according to KC, so could LA. .be interested in anyone else? Aaron Crow, for instance, is a no-doubt bullpen upgrade that could make a smooth transition to a starting role at 27 years old. Wade Davis would love another chance at a starting role, and taking his $4.8 million salary off the books would help to offset the new contract with Kendrick. Speaking of that contract...
1. Is Kendrick Worth the Contractual Obligations?
Wherever he plays, Kendrick will make $9.35 million in base salary next year and $9.5 million in 2015. KC's available trade bait and remaining payroll will make a good fit in this scenario hard to find. The Royals shouldn't be willing to part with any pitchers above the value of a Kyle Zimmer or Yordano Ventura, and they aren't in any position to add another $9 million to payroll. It might be possible to make a deal work that benefits the Royals, but it won't be easy.