Ever since the LA Angels traded Howie Kendrick away in 2014, they’ve had 23 different players log innings at second base. After years of consistency, it’s been a merry-go-round since.
This offseason, the LA Angels will have a chance to reunite with their old second baseman. While they may not need him as much as they used to, Howie Kendrick could be the player that makes this Angels group truly elite. Let’s break this down.
I know what your first thought is: the Angels have Tommy La Stella coming back in 2020, which should be a breakout season for the slugger. They also have David Fletcher, who could play pretty much anywhere and is mostly a second baseman. After them, Luis Rengifo showed promise this season and figures to be in the plans for 2020. Oh, and Andrelton Simmons. So, basically…
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2B: Fletcher, La Stella, Rengifo
3B: Fletcher, La Stella
SS: Simmons, Fletcher, Rengifo
Those are the positions and who can play them. It looks cloudy already, but the Angels could find a way to make it work…hear me out.
With Shohei Ohtani returning to the mound next season, it’ll open up three days a week for a designated hitter. Those are days that Albert Pujols can DH, meaning the infield can be composed of all four players with Kendrick at first base.
Kendrick also has played the outfield, meaning he can be used in a Ben Zobrist type of role, filling in wherever needed.
His stats at the plate speak for themselves. A .344/.393/.574 slash line is elite play from the 36-year old. He pairs that with exceptional defense and baserunning. Kendricks isn’t the type of player who leads a team’s offense, but he is arguably one of the best role players in the entire MLB.
So, while the fit seems murky at best and the Angels definitely have positions in bigger need of an upgrade, Howie Kendrick stands out. He’ll have his fair share of suitors, but a homecoming to Anaheim could take this Angels’ position group to an entirely new level.