Kendrick to Philly

The Los Angeles Dodgers have sent Howie Kendrick to the Philadelphia Phillies for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.

The move makes sense … just don’t think it’s gonna end up working out for the Phillies.

After signing Chase Utley, Kendrick transitioned from second base to a kind of everyday-super-utility role where he held his own defensively and did just okay offensively (.255/.326/.366). Really the Dodgers should have just not signed Chase Utley in the first place, but here we are anyways and Kendrick is an expendable piece being traded to a notoriously brutal east coast town after having spent his entire career in the L.A. area … I’m sure it’s going to work out just perfectly.

In return, the Dodgers get two younger guys who could have been solid performers had their playing time not been blocked by any number of overpaid non-stars in Philly. As a result, they’re both super-utility types now in desperate need of a scenery change – I’ve heard L.A. is a bit different than Philly.

Mariners trade for Valencia

The Seattle Mariners have struck a deal with the Oakland Athletics, sending RHP prospect Paul Blackburn to Oakland for veteran infielder Danny Valencia.

It’s a good deal for all parties involved. Valencia offers Seattle positional flexibility (playing four different positions for Oakland last season) and mashes left-handed pitching (.321 career average). Seattle, as a team, averaged .255 against LHP last season – so an upgrade there was much needed.

Oakland, meanwhile, does what Oakland does and gets another young pitching prospect. Blackburn, 22, figures to break in during the 2nd half of the season – after Oakland completes its traditional mid-season fire sale and likely parts ways with Sonny Gray.

Jays land Gurriel and Morales

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed touted Cuban Lourdes Gurriel to a 7-year, $22M deal.

Gotta love this if you’re a Blue Jays fan. Gurriel, 23, is generally considered a 5-tool player who just needs a bit more seasoning in the minors. Given that he can play most positions (worked out at 3rd, 2nd, SS and CF), he could easily break in as an everyday super-utility guy and help keep those older superstars fresh.

Awesome for Toronto!

The Jays have also signed Kendrys Morales, 33, to a 3-year, $33M deal … and yes, all those threes are pure coincidence. Morales is coming off two seasons with the Kansas City Royals where hit the ball relatively well (.263/.327/.468 with 30 HRs).

I don’t hate this trade, but I don’t love it either. More than a signing for Toronto, this is a message to all their fans: you’re probably not getting Encarnacion or Bautista back next season.

It’s possible Morales will be a productive member of their lineup when he’s 36-years old.

It’s possible the palpable drop-off in production from Morales won’t have repercussions next season.

It’s possible that having a lineup of guys in their mid-to-late thirties just means they have the most experienced lineup in the game.

It’s just that, normally, those scenarios don’t play out well historically.

But hey – you guys got Gurriel, right?

RHP Colon joins Braves staff

Bartolo Colon, slugging juggernaut and occasional pitcher, has signed a one-year agreement with the Mets’ divisional rival Atlanta Braves. Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the deal for the 43-year-old is valued at $12.5M. Colon is coming off his best season with New York, going 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA.

 

Colon’s pitch-to-contact style should work well with the Braves young squad, and at only one year you can be certain that he won’t be blocking any prospect’s path to the show.

Best case scenario here? Colon has a great first half, team’s young pitching matures, Braves flip Colon at the deadline to a contender for some prospects.

Worst case scenario? Colon pitches like a normal 40-something, team either benches him or releases him outright, swallowing salary.

Who knows, but it’s worth the gamble – especially when at the expense of a divisional rival.

 

 

Knuckleballer Dickey to Braves

The Atlanta Braves have reached a deal with former Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. No financial details have been released thus far, Mark Bowman reports the deal is for 2017 with an option for 2018.

Dickey, 42, is coming off his worst season since reinventing himself with the Mets in ’09, posting seven-year highs in ERA, WHIP, HR/9, H/9 and BB/9 while pitching 20% fewer innings and ultimately demoted to the bullpen.

The Braves are themselves coming off a terrible season, tied for 25th place in the league with just 68 wins to show for their efforts. In their defense, it was a rebuilding year – but given that so many teams were openly racing to the bottom of the standings (eight by my count), the odds that their gamble pays off handsomely in the draft is slight.

That said, it’s a good move for both sides.

While rebuilding teams typically look to get younger and cheaper, the Braves take a flier on a potential innings eater with the chance moving outdoors adds some life to his stuff. In a perfect world this should take some pressure off the bullpen and protect the squad’s young arms from overexposure. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the Braves get a veteran player and positive presence for their young squad (a la David Ross/Jon Lester for the young Cubs).

For his part, Dickey gets a team more suited to defending his contact-inducing style, a slightly bigger outfield for those pesky fly balls and, if he wants, the ability to ride off into the sunset mentoring the next generation of Braves and possibly parlaying that into a management role down the line.

As long as the Braves didn’t give away an asshole amount of money, it’s a perfectly legit move.