The Los Angeles Dodgers shed some salary from their pricey payroll, but lost a veteran bat in the process, acquiring first baseman-outfielder Darin Ruf and minor league infielder-outfielder Darnell Sweeney from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for infielder-outfielder Howie Kendrick.
Kendrick, 33, played in 146 regular-season games for the Dodgers in 2016, batting .255 with eight home runs and 40 RBI, and appeared in nine postseason games for the Los Angeles, going 5-for-22 (.227).
However, the 11-year MLB veteran has a .289 career batting average with 95 homers and 595 RBI in 1,344 games with the Angels and Dodgers.
Last season, Kendrick played primarily out of position in left field, rather than his usual spot at second base, as the Dodgers elected to start another veteran, Chase Utley, at second. Perhaps that change in position led to the down year by Kendrick, who has proven to be a reliable contact hitter throughout his career.
Kendrick was owed approximately $10 million next season in the final year of his two-year deal.
Ruf, 30, appeared in 95 games in 2016 for the Phillies’ Triple-A Lehigh Valley, posting a .294 batting average with 20 home runs and 65 RBI. He also played in 43 games for Philadelphia last season, batting .205 with three home runs and nine RBI, and has appeared in 286 big league games in five seasons with the Phillies from 2012-16, batting .240 with 35 homers and 96 RBI.
Ruf has done most of his damage against left-handed pitchers posting a .299/.379/.542 career slashline. In the Majors, Ruf appeared in 139 games (92 starts) at first base, one game at third base, 76 games (64 starts) at left field and 29 games (27 starts) at right field.
In parts of eight minor league seasons, Ruf has hit .295 with 184 doubles, nine triples, 95 homers and 414 RBI in 675 games, earning Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in 2012. The Omaha, NE, native was drafted by Philadelphia in the 20th round of the 2009 MLB First Year Player Draft out of Creighton University.
Sweeney, 25, returns to the Dodger organization after being sent to the Phillies on August 19, 2015, in a trade that involved Chase Utley. The Hollywood, FL, native spent the 2016 campaign with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, batting .233 with 17 doubles, five triples, six homers, 35 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 118 games. He saw his first big league action with Philadelphia in 2015, hitting .176 (15-for-85) with four doubles, a triple, three homers and 11 RBI in 37 games.
Sweeney, who was originally drafted by Los Angeles in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft out of the University of Central Florida, has hit .272 with 124 doubles, 36 triples, 45 homers, 251 RBI and 134 stolen bases in 567 career minor league games.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services