The Los Angeles Dodgers are on fire. A recent hot streak has propelled them to the top of the National League West, and they look more like World Series contenders with each passing game. Adding Howie Kendrick would move them closer to that goal.
Second base is one of the few weak spots on the Dodgers' roster. The combination of Mark Ellis, Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto has failed to impress while other players—most notably Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and rookie sensation Yasiel Puig—have carried the offense.
Kendrick would give Los Angeles an even deeper lineup and more flexibility. He could hit down in the order to start, but if Puig faltered during the stretch run, the current Los Angeles Angels star could slide into the No. 2 spot without missing a beat.
It remains unclear exactly what type of chance the Dodgers have to land him, however. Jayson Stark of ESPN reported the two sides have had conversations about the second baseman, but talks haven't become serious.
The Dodgers and Angels haven't made a trade in 20 years (a Reggie Williams-for-Mike James swap in 1993). And that's the only deal those two teams have made since 1976. But sources indicate they had a mostly casual conversation about Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick this week. Kendrick -- who is signed through 2015 for a total of $18.85 million -- could interest the Dodgers as a second-base option for down the road. But there were no indications that any deal was in the works as of Tuesday morning.
A lot can change over the course of two days, especially during the period leading up to the deadline. Alden Gonzalez, who covers the Angels for MLB.com, states the club is still considering its options with Kendrick.
At the very least, the door is open for the Dodgers to make a run at the 2011 All-Star. When Los Angeles' front office considers the deep lineups of its chief competition, namely the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, it's hard to ignore the appeal of Kendrick.
The 30-year-old infielder doesn't generate a lot of attention. It's mostly because he doesn't put up huge numbers in any single category. He isn't going to hit 40 home runs or steal 40 bases. To a lesser degree, the Angels' other star players also keep him from stealing the spotlight.
That said, he's a very productive across-the-board contributor. His career average is only a handful of points below .300, which goes along with an ability to hit homers, steal bases and play steady defense. He does whatever it takes to help the team win.
With the Angels struggling after an enormous amount of hype before the season, this is probably the Dodgers' best chance to get him if they are indeed interested. If they wait until winter, the Angels may change their mind as they prepare for what they hope will be a bounce-back season.
All signs point toward the Dodgers making a deep run in the playoffs. All the pieces have come together, even without consistent contributions from Matt Kemp. Now Los Angeles has a chance to improve its chances even more before the deadline.
The Dodgers should do exactly that by attempting to land Kendrick, who would be a perfect fit.