As the Los Angeles Angels continue to fade from contention in the American League, their players continue to be mentioned in trade speculation.
Currently 14.0 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, the Angels have suddenly become sellers in a season they expected to contend for the Commissioner's Trophy.
Los Angeles has already made a move to trade long-time reliever Scott Downs to the Atlanta Braves. The Angels received minor league right-hander Cory Rasmus in the deal.
The latest player to garner interest from several teams looking to upgrade their current roster is Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick.
According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Los Angeles Dodgers could have interest in the one-time All-Star.
CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reported on Tuesday that the Kansas City Royals were in the market for a second baseman and even the Toronto Blue Jays—not currently considered contenders—are reportedly interested in making Kendrick an option at second base moving forward.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet reported on Wednesday that Toronto has expressed "genuine interest" in making a trade with the Angels for Kendrick's services.
Kendrick would be an excellent addition to any contending team's roster as they prepare to make a playoff push over the final two months of the 2013 MLB season.
Statistically, Kendrick is having one of his best years in the majors.
Through 102 games, Kendrick has a .301 batting average with an on-base percentage of .344. He also has 11 home runs and 45 RBI, finding ways to produce runs despite being pushed to the bottom of the totem pole by Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo.
No matter where he is in the lineup, Kendrick finds ways to get on base and get the job done. With a career batting average of .293 and over 400 RBI in eight MLB seasons, Kendrick doesn't need to hit home runs to produce results.
The 30-year-old has also had his fair share of clutch moments for the Halos.
Kendrick has a career fielding percentage of .985, which isn't flashy, but is certainly solid enough to get the job done on any given night. Although he has the most errors in the AL as a second baseman this year (10), Kendrick also has the second-most put-outs at the position (182).
Although second base is his primary position, Kendrick can also move around the diamond in a pinch. He's played left field, first base and even third base for Mike Scioscia during his time with the Angels.
As reported by the team's official Twitter account, Kendrick just hit a career milestone on Tuesday against the Texas Rangers:
Congratulations to Howie Kendrick on his 1,000th career hit! The 2-RBI single give the #Angels a 10-7 lead!— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) July 31, 2013
If you discount Toronto's interest as nothing more than exploratory, the Dodgers and Royals would appear to be the two places were Kendrick would have a meaningful impact on a playoff team.
That being said, Stark isn't sure the Royals have the assets it will take to entice the Angels to make a deal:
To make matters worse, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Kendrick has the Royals on his no-trade list. He can block trades to 12 different teams this season:
It's understandable why the Royals, Dodgers, Blue Jays and others would want to turn a position of weakness into strength by trading for Kendrick.
Where do you think Kendrick will end up?
He has appeared in four different playoff series with the Angels, played in over 100 regular season games each of the last five seasons and is a veteran presence who is no stranger to being part of a winning organization.
Should a team take the necessary steps to bring Kendrick to their roster, he will not disappoint. His track record, versatility in the field and overall experience are all positive indicators that he would be useful to a contending team in a playoff push this year.
Follow Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.