Dodgers announce signing of free agent Howie Kendrick
LOS ANGELES (AP) The Dodgers finalized their $20 million, two-year contract with free-agent Howie Kendrick on Thursday, bringing back the second baseman in part because of his willingness to play multiple positions.
Kendrick had turned down a $15.8 million, one-year qualifying offer from the team in November. That rejection left the Dodgers as the only club that could sign the 32-year-old without having to give up a 2016 amateur draft pick in the opening rounds as compensation.
After Kendrick's rejection, the team re-signed Chase Utley to a $7 million, one-year deal to split time at second with Kike Hernandez, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery. Third baseman Justin Turner is recovering from knee surgery.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, said Kendrick re-entered consideration a couple of weeks ago when he said he wouldn't mind time at third.
''He expressed a willingness to play different spots, which just adds to the versatility to our roster,'' Friedman said. ''We were looking for someone who could play second and third with Justin coming back from surgery and Kike coming back from surgery as well.''
Friedman thinks there is enough playing time to go around for everyone.
''All it takes is one injury, and the depth we'll have on hand is really attractive to us,'' he said.
Kendrick batted .295 with nine home runs and 54 RBIs last season, his first after the Dodgers acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels in December 2014. Utley, who is 37, batted .212.
Kendrick's deal includes annual salaries of $10 million, but half is deferred without interest. He will get $5 million payments on Dec. 15 in 2018 and 2019.