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Dodgers reportedly 'making progress' to bring back Howie Kendrick

It has been an offseason of waiting for Howie Kendrick.
It has been an offseason of waiting for Howie Kendrick.
Jayne-Kamin Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This has been a very weird offseason for the Dodgers, and one that could get more odd with the potential return of Howie Kendrick to Los Angeles. The Dodgers are said to be "making progress" with Kendrick on returning, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

Adding Kendrick in and of itself isn't strange. He has been one of the most consistent performers at second base over the last decade, including hitting .295/.336/.409 with a .325 wOBA with the Dodgers in 2015. Kendrick's 109 wRC+ and 107 OPS+ were right in line with his career marks of 108 in both categories.

It's just that the Dodgers had already seemingly moved on from Kendrick, who turned down a qualifying offer of one-year, $15.8 million from the Dodgers in November, meaning any new team that signs him would have to give up a draft pick.

The Diamondbacks have been most connected to Kendrick, though general manager Dave Stewart has been very public in the club's desire to not want to surrender another draft pick for a free agent after losing one for signing Zack Greinke earlier in the offseason.

By signing Kendrick, the Dodgers wouldn't technically lose a draft pick, though they effectively would be losing one they might have gained. The club's interest in securing draft picks has been a little overstated, in that the Dodgers aren't necessarily prioritizing draft picks over players, but rather the club has a certain value it places on the pick - Rosenthal estimated that teams value a pick in this range between $5 and $8 million - and factors that into the cost of any deal.

Kendrick's market seems to be coming back to within their range.

The Dodgers' first big move of the offseason was to bring back a second baseman in Chase Utley, one who had the worst season of his career in 2015, hitting .212/.286/.343 between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The club also committed $7 million for Utley's age-37 season and made every indication that Utley would get a lot of playing time, at the very least in a timeshare with Kike Hernandez at second.

But plans can change, especially if the cost to bring back Kendrick isn't nearly as high as one might have thought way back in November.

The Dodgers do need another infielder, preferably one who can back up third base at least. Justin Turner is the starter at the hot corner but is also coming off knee surgery, and the Dodgers have been proactive about getting Turner regular rest, once every four or five days even before the surgery.

Bringing back Kendrick moves Utley into more of a reserve role, filling in at second base and third base, though the latter a position Utley only played sparingly in 2015. Adding Kendrick also frees up Hernandez to be able to fill in at multiple positions other than second base, including third base, shortstop and center field.

Now it's just waiting to see whether a depressed market for Kendrick means a one-year deal or a two-year deal.