Monday, July 29, 2013

In the Cross Hairs: Howie Kendrick

Filled with confidence and riding a six game winning streak, the word is that the Royals are no longer sellers. Why shouldn't they be, Baseball Prospectus now estimates their playoff odds at 1.8% percent! Now I know a 50:1 chance doesn't sound too fantastic, but with one Google search I found this. Guys, if she can get pregnant with a 2% chance, then our Royals can make the playoffs at 1.8%! Am I right?

Anyway, the other interesting development from last night came when Jeff Passan dropped this nugget about the Angels openness to dealing second baseman Howie Kendrick.

If the Royals are going to buy, this is exactly the kind of player they should be looking for. Kendrick would fit perfectly into the two spot in the Royals order and he is an excellent defender at second base. Kendrick has been squaring up the ball at a career high level this year, which makes sense considering his spot on the age curve. He hits a ton of ground balls and line drives and does well to keep the ball out of the air. Based off this quick assessment of his batted balls, I think he would play very well at Kauffman Stadium.

Just for good measure, I decided to to adjust Kendrick's 2013 stats to Kauffman. As I suspected, his numbers take a good jump. So far in 2013, the 5'10" second baseman has hit .332/.358/.505, using Fangraphs 2012 park factors (2013 park factors are unavaible), Kendrick's home numbers jump to .341/.367/.526 in the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium. This would raise his season line of .299/.339/.445 to .304/.343/.458.

Kendrick is under team control through 2015. He is owed approximately 3.35 million over the remainder of 2013, 9.35 million in 2014, and 9.5 million in 2015. Fangraphs estimates 1 Win Above Replacement to be worth about $5 million so if Kendrick can net the Royals an additional 1 WAR in the remainder of this season, and 2 WAR in each of 2014 and 2015, the Royals should come out ahead.

As of now, Steamer estimates Kendrick to be worth 1.2 fWAR over the final two months of the season. Steamer estimates Chris Getz to be worth 0.1 fWAR so it is pretty safe to say that Kendrick would net the Royals an additional Win Above Replacement.

Projecting Kendrick out over the next two plus seasons, and a fair number might be a contribution of 8 fWAR (roughly $40 million in estimated value). Based off the tables that I used in the Ervin Santana post, a fair value is probably Yordano Ventura or Danny Duffy plus an additional prospect in that ranks in the teens of the Royals system.

Unfortunately, the Royals are out of Brandon Sisks. Would you deal either five seasons of Danny Duffy or six plus seasons of Yordano Ventura for two plus of Howie Kendrick? Unless the Angels are viewing the Kendrick move as a sort of salary dump (and there are no indications that they would), these are the names that they would likely demand after being rebuffed for Kyle Zimmer.

Edit: I didn't mention this but what would be really interesting would be a three way trade in which the Royals send out Ervin Santana and acquire Kendrick. Duffy joins the rotation in Santana's place and Kendrick slides right into the lineup. Long term this is the optimum route and would be an excellent move by Kansas City.

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