It has not been a glorious time since returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers lineup for Howie Kendrick. To put it simply, he has been woeful all over the place. In his first four games back, Kendrick was 4-for-16. While that’s still only a .250 batting average, it was still the best he has done all season long to this point when it comes to production.
Since April 16, Kendrick has gone 3-for-36 at the plate with just one walk and 11 strikeouts. He has a .191 OPS during that stretch, and for the season he’s batting .135. It’s been a terrible start to the season for him, and it’s so bad that it makes you wonder if the Dodgers would be better served just benching him for a small stretch of time.
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Being a veteran has its perks. One of them is that you are often viewed in a different light because of your past production. Kendrick is no different. Coming into this season, Kendrick was a lifetime .293 hitter, and he’d never had a full season with a batting average under .279. He’s always produced, but he’s also 32 and age is a real thing.
There have been 245 players in baseball this season to register at least 50 plate appearances. Kendrick’s .130 wOBA and -25 wRC+ are the worst in the big leagues. He’s already been worth -0.7 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement. That means that in just 16 games, he’s already cost the Dodgers by nearly one full win. His offense is to blame for some of that, but his defense has also been porous.
The replacements are on the team already. The Dodgers and Dave Roberts could trot out Chase Utley against right-handers at second base and Kiké Hernandez against left-handers. Or perhaps even use Charlie Culberson at second if you want to put Hernandez in left field for that game. Either way, Kendrick is hurting the team and perhaps a few days off might help him.
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