Yesterday, the Phillies sent LF/1B Darin Ruf and INF/OF Darnell Sweeney to the Dodgers for LF/2B Howie Kendrick. Phillies GM Matt Kentak told reporters that he expects Kendrick to be the everyday left fielder for the Phillies as they begin their 2017 campaign.
I’ve always been a Kendrick fan going back to when he came up with the Angels. During his All Star year in 2011 he slashed .285/.338/.464 for the Halos with 18 homers. Last season with the Dodgers he played in 146 games and slashed .255/.326/.366 with only 8 HRs.
It’s not exactly the stuff you want from your every day corner outfielder, but he should add some leadership, he’s been reasonably durable, and that’s certainly more than you were expecting to get from Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney this season. The Phillies will have to pay Kendrick, but they have money and tons of cap space.
The other factor here may be second base. This move allows the Phillies to listen to offers for Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis with JP Crawford on the fast track to shortstop in 2017. I look at this deal the same way I look at the Bourjos acquisition last off-season, although they’re not the same player.
Sources tell me that Ruf, Dodgers or not, may still be headed for Japan. We know he was scouted last season at Coca Cola Park as just the type of player they might like: HR hitter with MLB time on his resume. The pay check would certainly be better than the Dodgers sending him to Oklahoma City.
Darnell Sweeney headed straight to the majors when he came over from those very Dodgers in the Chase Utley deal near the end of 2015. He didn’t do well. Last season he spent the year with us in AAA Lehigh Valley, and had his ups and downs. He played some 3B for the first time in a long time, and did OK most of the time, with only a couple flashes that it isn’t really his preferred position. With the crowded outfield in Allentown, he didn’t get much time in CF. I remember a point last season when I thought he was playing really well. But he got nicked up a little and was never quite the same for the rest of the season. For the IronPigs we lose some depth, but I don’t think he really figured in the future plans of the Phillies, along with Ruf, either.
We wish Darin and Darnell well, and look forward to roster spots for prospects coming up through the system for our IronPigs.
See you at the park,
cover photo by Cheryl Pursell