Angels expected to revisit Howie Kendrick trade

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From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notebook in the Boston Globe:

It looks more and more like [Howie] Kendrick will be involved in a deal that would land the Angels some pitching or prospects. The Royals seem like a good fit as they attempt to solve their second base issue, and Kendrick would be a nice bat in that lineup. But what would the Royals give up? The Orioles are another possible fit with Brian Roberts’s tenure possibly ending soon. The Orioles haven’t decided to cut ties with the free agent, but they certainly wouldn’t re-sign Roberts for more than one season with his injury problems.

The Angels shopped Kendrick at this year’s July 31 trade deadline and received interest from multiple teams, but obviously no move was made.

Kendrick is owed $9.35 million next season and $9.5 million in 2015 — reasonable salaries for a consistently productive second baseman. Anaheim badly needs an influx of reliable starting pitching — young or old — and there aren’t going to be many good options for improvement on the free agent market this winter.

Kendrick, 30, batted .297/.335/.439 with 13 home runs, six stolen bases, 55 runs scored and 54 RBI in 122 games this year. He hit .287/.325/.400 with eight homers, 14 steals and 67 RBI in 147 games in 2012.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉