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Phillies acquire Howie Kendrick from the Dodgers

The Phils have traded two players for the Dodgers' second baseman/outfielder.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies have made their first major trade of the off-season, sending Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney to the Los Angeles Dodgers for second baseman/outfielder Howie Kendrick.

The 33-year-old Kendrick played 146 games for the Dodgers and hit .255/.326/.366 with 8 HRs and 64 runs scored, good for a wRC+ of 91 and an fWAR of 0.9. But the thought is a regular spot at second base could bring him back to his normal offensive output of .289/.332/.417, his career slash line.

Kendrick proved to be quite a versatile player for L.A. last season, playing multiple games at first base, second, third, and left field. He's also a perfect fit from a contractual standpoint for the Phillies, in the final year of a deal that will pay him $10 million this season. Phils general manager Matt Klentak said Kendrick is a professional hitter.

In return, the Phils send Ruf and Sweeney to the Dodgers, two players who were clearly not a part of the team's future. Ruf struggled as the right-handed portion of a platoon with Ryan Howard, batting just .205/.236/.337 in 43 games this year, with only three homers, all of them after being recalled in September.

Sweeney was acquired from the Dodgers in the Chase Utley deal last year and never made it out of Lehigh Valley this year, batting .233/.299/.345 with six homers, 17 doubles and five triples.

Make no mistake, there is nothing not to like about this deal.

Trading for Kendrick also could be an indication of what the Phillies plan to do with their current second baseman, Cesar Hernandez. While Kendrick does play the outfield, his natural position is the one currently held by Hernandez, and Kendrick is seen as a potential one-year stopgap until last year's second round pick out of the University of Arizona, Scott Kingery, is ready for the Majors. That could be as soon as late next year or early 2018

CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury wrote this week that Hernandez' name had come up frequently in trade talks this week. Hernandez had a terrific second half after being benched several times late in June for poor performance. He finished with an on-base percentage of .371 and an fWAR of 4.4.

The acquisition of Kendrick is likely the first of several moves, one of which will almost certainly involve Cesar Hernandez playing somewhere else in 2017, and is a solid move for a team working around the edges of the roster.

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