The Blue Jays have contacted the Angels in regards to a potential trade involving Howie Kendrick, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. As Nicholson-Smith notes, the talks are just preliminary, but it does show that the Blue Jays have genuine interest in acquiring Kendrick.
Nicholson-Smith reported earlier in the week that Kendrick's contract includes a no-trade clause that allows him to block trades to four teams: the Mets, Rays, Marlins and Blue Jays. It is currently unclear if he would be willing to waive the no-trade clause to accept a deal to Toronto, so that could be an obstacle in getting a deal completed.
Kendrick will be entering the final year of his four-year, $33.5 million contract in 2015, and will be paid $9.5 million for the 2015 season. For the 2014 season, Kendrick posted a .293/.347/.397 slash line. The .347 OBP was his highest since 2007, thanks to a career best 7.1% BB rate this past season. Since 2006, Kendrick's 9.1 defensive WAR ranks third in the American League, according to Fangraphs.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have some question marks regarding their infield heading into 2015. Nicholson-Smith notes that the Jays could get creative thanks to the versatility of Brett Lawrie. One option could be to sign Pablo Sandoval and move Lawrie over to second base, but Sandoval could be out of their price range.
Some other in-house options could be utility infielders Maicer Izturis or Ryan Goins, but both would offensive liabilities. Izturis missed most of 2014 with injuries, and his 2013 OPS was just .598. Goins, a 26 year-old left-handed hitting infielder, has a career OPS of .531 in just 100 games.. Needless to say, the Jays will have to find help for the 2015 infield.