Sources: Dodgers, Adam Kennedy close
Kennedy, who can play first, second and third, satisfies the Dodgers' need for a utility infielder and leaves just one major item on their offseason shopping list, that being a starting pitcher to replace Hiroki Kuroda.
Kennedy would serve as the primary backup in an infield that usually will feature James Loney at first, Mark Ellis at second, Juan Uribe at third and Dee Gordon at short. Although Kennedy has made just one appearance at short in his career, that with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007, Uribe could move there if manager Don Mattingly wanted to rest Gordon, with Kennedy taking over at third.
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Barring another offseason pickup, Justin Sellers, who appeared in 36 games for the Dodgers as a rookie, stands to be the other backup infielder.
Kennedy, who will turn 36 in January, also gives the Dodgers a left-handed bat off the bench, although he has a career .223 average as a pinch hitter. Overall, Kennedy has a .272 career average and a .326 on-base percentage, and he has little power -- he never has hit more than 13 home runs in a season. In 2011 with the Seattle Mariners, Kennedy hit .234 with 23 doubles, seven homers, 38 RBIs and a .277 OBP.
Kennedy grew up in Riverside and attended Cal State-Northridge. He is entering his 14th major league season, seven of which he spent with the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, and he was a key player for the Angels' World Series-winning club of 2002.
The Dodgers continue to hold out some hope of re-signing Kuroda, a free agent who already has received an offer from his former Japanese club, the Hiroshima Carp. But the fact the Dodgers are for sale has severely limited their player-payroll budget and put the club's ability to retain Kuroda -- who was paid $12.5 million last season -- in serious jeopardy.
If Kuroda isn't re-signed, the two free-agent starters in whom the Dodgers have the most interest are right-hander Aaron Harang and lefty Chris Capuano. The rotation already includes National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, righty Chad Billingsley, lefty Ted Lilly and probably right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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