Thursday, February 4, 2010

Might the Indians steal Adam Kennedy?

Late last week, Orlando Hudson and writer Bill Ladson threw out the Indians as a potential suitor for Hudson's services. As ridiculous as the rumors may be, they've gained footing over the past week as Hudson tries to hammer out as much money as possible from the Washington Nationals. With the focus on Hudson, might the Indians be targeting another second baseman that might come at a much cheaper price?

Susan Sussler, an A's staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, reported that Adam Kennedy might be looking to the Indians as a potential destination should Orlando Hudson sign with the Nationals:
Infielder Adam Kennedy said that he's still talking to Cleveland and Washinghton, but it seems as everything is on hold until Orlando Hudson decides where he's going.
Much like the Hudson rumor, Kennedy's name is coming out of left field. After spending most of his career in Anaheim as their starting 2nd baseman from 2000-2006, Kennedy spent two injury-riddled years in St. Louis, who released him. He had a resurgence last season after the Rays signed him to a minor league deal, then traded him to the A's in May. He would spend the rest of the season starting at both 2nd and 3rd for the A's after a season-ending injury to third baseman Eric Chavez and a 60-day DL stint for second baseman Mark Ellis.

He put up a solid line last season of .289/.348/.410, with 11 homers and 63 RBI, while stealing 20 bases, hitting 29 doubles and scoring 65 runs. Kennedy might be a fit for the Indians for a couple of reasons. First off, Kennedy has played all the infield positions, right and left field and DHed over the past three seasons. The Indians are looking for a utility infielder to take over for the departed Jamey Carroll. Kennedy's 2009 salary was also an Indians-friendly $400,000 last season. It's likely that Kennedy is looking for a hefty boost in his contract, but how big a boost is now in doubt. The irony is that should they focus on Kennedy, they'll likely be able to sign him for less money than Carroll's two-year deal with the Dodgers.

With Orlando Cabrera recently signing a one-year contract worth $3 million with the Reds, it's fairly obvious that there's not much money out there for middle infielders. Kennedy is likely waiting out Hudson so he can both set the price for the position, as well as give Kennedy some teams to focus on for a maximum deal.

Now before we go any further, let me state one thing about Kennedy: he's a lefty bat. Carroll gave the Indians a platoon for Luis Valbuena at second base. Kennedy would do no such thing. His career average against lefties is .249, and while better than Valbuena, it's not exactly worthwhile to put him in any sort of platoon. As I've stated before, I can't fathom that an infielder, starter or utility, is their priority right now, so Kennedy would be more in the Indians price range, but still out of the realm of sense. It's obvious that with players reporting in two to three weeks for most teams, Kennedy has to be getting nervous. Remember, he played his first 23 games last year in Durham, so he could be a cheap addition, should Shapiro want to add bodies. Perhaps Shapiro has put himself into the Hudson chronicles for this exact purpose, to focus others on the Indians that would be more affordable.

As far as Hudson goes, Anthony Castrovince discussed the likelihood of the Indians signing Hudson today at Castrovince, astute as always, thinks the chances of the Indians are slim and none:
On a team expected to field a youthful lineup and rotation with an eye on building toward more serious contention hopes in 2011, Valbuena fits right in. Hudson does not.
You could essentially plug Kennedy's name in there as well, if you are looking at him as a starter. I'm not. If you can get Kennedy in that Jamey Carroll role to fill in three or four days a week at any number of positions, so be it. Obviously, as a starter, it makes no sense. Obviously, as a platoon for Valbuena, it makes no sense. The same could be said for Hudson at this point, especially when you consider the team's other needs.

The B3 take on Kennedy is yes as another guy to throw into the utility mix. As anything else, it just doesn't make much sense.

Keep up with Tribe rumors, and whatever else sticks, here at B3...

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