This past September, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Adam Kennedy asked to be traded this off-season due to his diminished playing time. Kennedy had seen his playing time dwindle due to Aaron Miles and his .300 average and Felipe Lopez who was having a career revival after being claimed off of waivers. General Manager John Mozeliak agreed to honor Kennedy's request and make him available. Unfortunately, the Cardinals could find no takers for Kennedy while Miles and Lopez have signed elsewhere.
At the beginning of December during the baseball winter meetings, Mozeliak announced that Kennedy would be retained after the team balked at paying a substantial portion of his $4 million contract. Though the team had gone into the off-season looking to remake its middle infield, Khalil Greene is the only new face. It appears his double play partner will be Kennedy who had lost his position in 2008.
Originally drafted by St. Louis in the first round of the 1997 MLB First Year Player Draft, he and Kent Bottenfield were traded to the Anaheim Angels for Jim Edmonds before the 2000 season. The trade was definitely beneficial for the Cardinals but Kennedy enjoyed a solid career with the Angels as well. During Game 5 of the 2002 American League Championship Series, the left-handed hitter slugged three home runs. The performance helped his team clinch the American League pennant and Kennedy was named the series MVP for his efforts. The Angels would go on to beat the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
After the 2006 season, the Cardinals looked to solidify its second base carousel by agreeing to terms with Kennedy on a three-year, $10 million contract. His homecoming was a great disappointment as he finished the 2007 season with a line of .219/.282/.290 in only 87 games. A torn knee ligament ended his season in August. In 2008, the 32 year old hit .280/.321/.372 in 339 at bats.
So as the Cardinals look to go into the 2009 season with Kennedy as its starting second baseman, what can we expect? Well, I am no expert on projections so I looked around the industry to those who are experts.
For the 2009 season, Bill James has projected Kennedy to post a line of .273/.332/.368. Tango Tiger's Marcel projects a line of .255/.313/.359. The Baseball Think Factory's Zips projections came up with a line of .259/.313/.334. Given these projections, James believes he will put up an OPS of .700, Marcel projects on OPS of.672 while Marcel believes his number will be .647.
In his recent article, Brian Walton explained that Ron Shandler is projecting Kennedy to finish at .270/.316/.364. That is an OPS of 680. When averaging the four OPS, we come up with a number of .675. That number would rank Kennedy in the bottom 5% amongst second baseman in all of baseball according to Marcel. Pair that with Khalil Greene who is projected to be in the bottom fourth in OPS among shortstops and the Cardinals will once again get little in offensive production from its middle infield. So even though General Manager John Mozeliak promised to be aggressive going into this off-season, it appears the Cardinals will go into the 2009 season with one of the weakest offensive middle infields in baseball.
There are alternatives still available. The premier second base free agent is still on the market. Not only would Orlando Hudson provide Gold Glove defense but much more offense as well. When averaging James, Marcel, and Zips, Hudson is projected to hit 286/.358/.428 with an OPS of .786 which is over 100 points higher than Kennedy's projection.
Subscribe to our annual Total Access Pass(tm) and also receive the 2009 Scout Prospect Guide, the perfect hardcopy, glossy companion our online coverage, including the top prospects from all 30 MLB organizations, fantasy baseball previews and more!
© 2009 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.