Up next on our 2015 Dodgers player reviews is Howie Kendrick, one of two veteran starting middle infielders the Dodgers acquired by trade last December.
What went right
On offense, Kendrick was pretty much as advertised, hitting .295/.336/.409, right in line with his career line of .293/.333/.423.
On a team that struggled with runners in scoring position, Kendrick excelled in the clutch, hitting .360/.398/.480 with six doubles and two home runs in 109 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. He was a staple in the heart of the order most of the season making 107 of his 112 starts batting either second, third or fourth.
Kendrick was especially hot in April, hitting .295/.353/.526 with 11 extra-base hits and 14 RBI in 21 games in the season's opening month.
He had five straight multi-hit games and six such games in a seven-game span in early August before inuring his hamstring. Kendrick led the Dodgers with 42 multi-hit games in 2015.
What went wrong
After several years of above-average defense in Anaheim, many metrics weren't kind to Kendrick with the Dodgers in 2015. From 2011-2014, Kendrick averaged 7.15 runs above average in Ultimate Zone Rating, 5.75 runs above average in Total Zone Rating and 3.75 Defensive Runs Saved. But in 2015 all three ratings ranked Kendrick as below average, 6.0 runs under by UZR, seven runs below average in Total Zone Rating and 12 runs under in DRS.
For better or worse, the Kendrick decision will always be linked to Dee Gordon, who had a career year with the Marlins in 2015. Though there were many parts to that Gordon trade, including the Dodgers also getting Kiké Hernandez, Chris Hatcher and Austin Barnes in the deal (and the Marlins getting a free Dan Haren). I contend the bigger "what if?" going forward will be whether the Dodgers would have been better off with one year of Kendrick (and a potential draft pick) or six years of pitcher Andrew Heaney, since that portion of the three-team deal was one-for-one. But there will be more on Heaney later in this review series.
July was tough for Kendrick, who hit .255/.290/.330 in 23 games.
Kendrick missed 35 games in August and September on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. After returning from the DL, Kendrick went his final 67 plate appearances, including the playoffs, without a walk.
After averaging 145 games and 604 plate appearances from 2010-2014, Kendrick played in 117 games and had 495 PA in 2015, his lowest totals since 2009.
Stats: .295/.336/.409, .325 wOBA, 107 OPS+, 109 wRC+, 1.1 rWAR, 2.1 fWAR
Salary: $9.5 million
Game of the year
Kendrick went 4-for-5 on June 30 in Arizona, one of four different four-hit games for Kendrick in 2015. Kendrick drove home the tying run with an RBI single in the seventh inning, then hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th inning in a 6-4 Dodgers victory over the Diamondbacks.
Kendrick will be a free agent the morning after the World Series ends, and since he is likely to sign a multi-year contract somewhere is a prime candidate for the Dodgers to make a qualifying offer of one year, $15.8 million, ensuring the Dodgers a compensatory draft pick should Kendrick decide to sign elsewhere.