Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Associated Press

Report: Howie Kendrick traded to Phillies for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney


Dodgers second baseman/outfielder Howie Kendrick was reported earlier this week to be desirous of a trade. His desires have been fulfilled: Todd Zolecki of reports that Kendrick has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.

Kendrick batted .255/.326/.356 with eight homers and 40 RBI in 2016 while playing more outfield than second base, his traditional position. He also played some first and third. He was said to be frustrated with his, more or less, utility role. Obliging him with a trade to Philly reunites him with Matt Klentak, the Philly GM who was the Angels’ assistant GM when Kendrick played in Anaheim.

As for Ruf, the once-promising prospect some called “Babe Ruf” — more jokingly so as time went on — was never able to get it together in Philly. A wrist injury didn’t help him. He had a meager .573 OPS in 43 big league games last season. Sweeney was drafted by the Dodgers back in 2012 and was sent to Philly last year in the Chase Utley deal. He has played second, third and the outfield and posted a .644 OPS in Triple-A last season.

This deal seems like a “we like you Howie, so we’ll give you what you want” sort of thing from the Dodgers’ perspective. For Philly, a veteran who can provide an upgrade at second base — assuming the Phillies, as rumored, try to deal Cesar Hernandez — and who can fill in in the outfield corners if need be. UPDATE: Never mind, Kendick will be the everyday left fielder.

Blue Jays, Kendrys Morales reach a three-year deal

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Jon Heyman reports that free agent DH Kendrys Morales has signed a three-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The pact is worth $33 million.

Morales hit .263/.327/.468 with 30 homers and 93 RBI for the Royals in 2016. But we all know what he’s about at this point. The real question is what this means for the Jays’ pursuit of Edwin Encarnacion, who started as the Jays’ DH in 86 games last season. And whom, it was reported yesterday, did not accept the Blue Jays’ first contract offer.

I suppose it’s possible that the Jays sign Encarnacion too and play him at first base while kicking Justin Smoak to the curb, but this seems very much like a “well, we can’t get Edwin, we’ll get the next best thing” kind of move.

Blue Jays sign Cuban infielder Lourdes Gurriel

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2 Comments’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the Blue Jays have agreed to a multi-year contract with Cuban infielder Lourdes Gurriel. The deal is reportedly for seven years and $22 million.

Gurriel, 23, hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances before defecting from Cuba. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has suggested that he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s played shortstop and second base, but is probably destined for a corner.

He’ll likely need some time in the minors before he sees time in Toronto.