Coming into the 2016 season, Howie Kendrick was coming off of a season in which he hit .295 for the Dodgers and was a career .293 hitter in the majors. Now, Kendrick is coming off a season where he hit just .255, making him very expendable for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In other words, neither team had anything to lose in swapping the three players in a deal that will give each of them new opportunities.
GM Matt Klentak told reporters that Kendrick is penciled in to be the team's left fielder in 2017, but considering the fact that he can also play second base, that could change, depending on how things go the rest of the fall and winter. Kendrick wasn't happy with his role with the Dodgers this past season, playing both left field and second base and not having a well-defined position with the club. In his major league career, Kendrick has spent every season in Los Angeles, first with the Angels and then coming over to the Dodgers for the past two seasons.
"For a young roster... having a player on the 25-man who has the ability to play left field, first base, second base, third base, really does provide Pete [Mackanin] with a lot of flexibility from a game-to-game basis," Klentak told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. "And that's something, just in terms of general roster management, is going to be very important to us this year, and Howie Kendrick can play all of those positions. The versatility that he brings to our team is a huge benefit."
Dealing Kendrick made a lot of sense, since the Dodgers are looking to shed some payroll - Kendrick will make $10-million in 2017 - and Kendrick wanted out of the City of Angels.
Sweeney was removed from the 40-man roster when he was outrighted to Lehigh Valley on September 5th. Ironically, the Phillies had acquired Sweeney from the Dodgers in the deal that sent Chase Utley to Los Angeles. The Phillies brought Sweeney to the majors for 37 games in 2015 and he hit .176 with three home runs and 11 RBI. This past season, Sweeney spent the entire season at Lehigh Valley and hit just .233 for the Triple-A IronPigs.
There were rumors late in the season that Ruf would look to play overseas next season if the Phillies didn't tender him a contract for 2017. With the trade, it's likely that L.A. will tender a contract to him. At one time, Ruf was set to become an every day player for the Phillies and seemingly had a bright future, but he never got a true extended period of playing time and floundered at the plate as time went on.
The 30-year old Ruf spent most of 2016 with Lehigh Valley, hitting 20-65-.294/.356/.529 in 95 games. He did play in 43 games with the Phillies and hit just .205 at the big league level. Over parts of five MLB seasons, Ruf has a slash line of 35-96-.240/.314/.433, with all of his tenure coming with the Phillies. Ruf was drafted by the Phillies out of Creighton University in the 20th round of the 2009 Draft.
Last week, the Phillies acquired reliever Pat Neshek from the Astros for cash or a player to be named later.