The Braves have to be smart with their money. Sure, there’s no cap space in the MLB, but we’re not a team like the Yankees where the sky is the limit financially. Need proof? Look at last season. The Braves were absolutely horrid last season because they had to blow things up due to the faulty contracts of Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. The franchise is now in limbo due to two bad deals from the Frank Wren era. The Braves have to be smart with their investments, but Howie Kendrick could prove to be worth his price tag.
Kendrick spent nine seasons with the Los Angeles Angels before being traded across town to the Dodgers last winter. What does he offer? Contact and consistency, which is exactly what the Braves are looking for. Over ten big league seasons, Kendrick is a lifetime .293 hitter. This ranks 17th among all active players. This stat becomes more impressive when you take into account he is a second baseman, typically a weak position with the stick. He’s a former All-Star and even received a small handful of MVP votes last season, yet is seemingly always under the radar.
We gave Jace Peterson a shot last season, but he was a low-tier MLB starter in his true rookie season. The team may look for him to fill the position until Ozzie Albies, who many consider to be the best prospect in the sytem, is major league ready. However, considering Albies is just 18 and played in Rome this season, we’re still looking a couple years down the road. Second base, third base and catcher are positions that must be addressed by Atlanta. I think Peterson’s clutch hitting makes him a great bench piece for pinch hitting situations, but at the end of the day I felt he was overrated with the glove, and he hit just .239 with little power. Many will feel that the team should settle for Peterson at a fraction of the price, but a nearly guarenteed .290 hitter in our lineup would open a lot of doors for this offense, especially at second base.
If the team were to sign Kendrick, it would be very similar to the deal that Nick Markakis signed with the team. The Braves would be getting a great contact bat who can hold the position for a few years down the road for around $11-13 million annually. What the numbers don’t show is how much of an advantage the Braves would have adding another veteran to the mix. It’s no coincidence that once the Braves spelled off their vets, the wheels totally came off the campaign. Signing Kendrick to a three year deal would allow the Braves to get consistent production at a hard position to fill and likely get a decent return when Ozzie Albies is ready.
My offer: 3 years, $37 million