Monday, January 9, 2012

By Robert Cunningham - Contributor

What a significant turn of events over the last 3 months! The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim secured their second base position for the next 4 years by signing Howie Kendrick to an extension totaling a reported $33.5 million dollars.

Previously I discussed the impact of the Albert Pujols signing here. In that article I discussed the immense value that signing an already legendary player like Pujols adds to the leverage the front office can exert in its financial dealings. The Howie Kendrick extension is a perfect example.

First of all Howie Kendrick is an above average, Major League, second baseman, ranking in the top 10, at the position, over the last 3 seasons with a slash line of .284/.327/.436 and above average defense. Quality second basemen are a commodity, currently, and Howie provides good value in the position.

Secondly this was good for both the Angels and Howie from a financial point of view. The open market could have easily paid Howie upwards of 4 years/$38-$40 million or more. However, through the leverage gained by signing Pujols, Howie and his agent accepted a club-friendly 4 year/$33.5 million contract. Why would Howie accept less?

The answer for Howie is two-fold. To start, every player carries the risk that an injury can occur, sometimes unexpectedly. By accepting this multi-million dollar contract Howie has secured his financial future for he and his family. Less importantly, but just as thoughtful, is the fact that Howie understands that by hitting in front of Albert Pujols for the next 4 years his numbers should maintain and quite possibly improve over the length of the contract. This will set him up for an additional payday at 32 years old (and I believe he will be wearing a different uniform after that unless he becomes the batting champion he was projected to be) that could be for even more than the contract he just signed.

From the Halos point of view this contract should be quite safe. Even if Howie doesn’t live up to last year’s offensive numbers, he should still provide production that exceeds the average annual value that a player of his caliber would command on the open market.

One thing that is still unclear is whether Howie received a no-trade clause. It seems that Howie did not receive one which would be to the Angels benefit. If that is in fact the case the Angels, if they are not contending for one reason or another during the 3rd or 4th years of Howie’s contract, could use Kendrick as a strong trade chip if they have a prospect or trade opportunity to replace him. Even if Howie does have a no-trade clause the Angels have limited exposure for the 4 years and have very little downside in offering this contract.

Again the draw of playing for a contending team, a great owner, a respected manager, and with one of the greatest players to ever wear a Major League uniform is a recipe for success.

That is the power and ripple effect created from the Pujols signing and the best part is that it is not over!

Go Halos and great to see Howie in an Angels uniform for another 4 years!
Love to hear what you think!

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