The Los Angeles Dodgers recently tried to acquire a second baseman, but it wasn’t the New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano.
No, the Dodgers’ target was the Los Angeles Angels’ Howie Kendrick, and the two sides held extensive trade discussions before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, according to major league sources.
The Angels proposed a deal that included one of the Dodgers’ top pitching prospects, Double-A right-hander Zach Lee, sources said. One source said the talks went right down to the deadline. It is unclear which team blinked.
The trade would have been a stunner. The Los Angeles teams haven’t completed a deal since the Dodgers sent outfielder Orlando Alvarez to the Angels for catcher Ellie Rodriguez in March 1976, according to STATS LLC..
Kendrick, 30, can’t block a deal to the Dodgers. His contract includes a 12-team no-trade list for the 2013 season, but the Dodgers are not on that list, a source said.
The Dodgers could revive their pursuit of Kendrick in the offseason rather than attempt to sign Cano, a potential free agent who might command a contract of more than $150 million.
Indeed, the Dodgers’ mere pursuit of Kendrick indicates they might not be a player for Cano, a development that would increase the Yankees’ chances of re-signing their homegrown second baseman.
The Dodgers are trying to sign left-hander Clayton Kershaw to an extension and also might want to extend shortstop Hanley Ramirez. Both are free agents after the 2014 season.
Kendrick is signed through ‘15, earning $8.75 million this season, $9.35 million next season and $9.5 million in ’15. Mark Ellis, the Dodgers’ current second baseman, is a potential free agent.
Ellis, 36, is batting .278 with a .698 OPS this season. Kendrick is batting .301 with a .778 OPS, and might have made the American League All-Star team if he had not been stuck behind Cano and the Boston Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia.
Lee, 21, was the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2010, and entered the season as the team’s fifth-best prospect, according to Baseball America. He is at Double-A Chattanooga, and is 9-9 with a 3.19 ERA.
The Angels badly want to add starting pitching and discussed trading either Kendrick or shortstop Erick Aybar at the deadline to address that need.
The team placed Aybar on revocable trade waivers on Monday but would prefer to trade Kendrick, believing a shortstop would be more difficult to replace, sources said.