PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Pete Mackanin said the Phillies needed to find at least one professional hitter this offseason.They believe they found one Friday. The team announced it had traded first baseman Darin Ruf and second baseman Darnell Sweeney to the Dodgers for Howie Kendrick. Kendrick, 33, is expected to be the team's everyday left fielder, although he has spent the majority of his career at second base.
Kendrick hit .255 with eight home runs, 40 RBIs and a .691 OPS in 146 games (124 starts) last season. He posted a combined .758 OPS over the previous five seasons with the Angels and Dodgers, which was 14 percent higher than the league average. The Phillies certainly hope Kendrick returns to form with regular playing time.The trade makes sense for the Phillies because they add a veteran bat to the lineup, but also because Kendrick is in the final year of a two-year, $20 million contract. The Phillies prefer players with short-term contracts because their priority is giving their young players as much playing time as possible.Signing somebody like free-agent Ian Desmond, who would require a multiyear deal, would give the Phillies no flexibility to do that.With Kendrick in left field and Odubel Herrera in center, it makes for an interesting competition this spring in right field. The group of competitors includes Aaron Altherr and Roman Quinn. Of course, the Phillies could still add another corner outfielder to the mix, too.Todd Zolecki / MLB.com