Jeff Kent has exercised his option for 2008, and he will return to the Dodgers next season to play 2nd base. He had originally said he was going to take time off to evaluate whether he wants to play next season, most likely as a ploy to see what direction the Dodgers were going to head in. I guess he's happy with what's going on. Oh, and that $9 million paycheck might just help a tad bit as well.
Kent played in 136 games last year, hitting .302 with 20 HR and 79 RBI. Not too shabby numbers for a 39-year-old. Even more impressive was his .324 AVG in September, being one of the few guys to actually play well that month.
The internal option for a replacement had Kent decided not to come back was Tony Abreu. He played in 59 games last season, hitting .271, but with a small .309 OBP. Those number could be a bit misleading, considering that when he was at Triple A Las Vegas last year for 54 games, he hit .355/.399. In 2006 at Double A Jacksonville, it was .289/.343. So, he's shown in the minors that when given enough at-bats, he can get on base. He's also a swith hitter than can play multiple infield positions.
Regardless of Abreu's potential, he'll be in the utility role this year now that Kent is back. Kent is still a legit #3 hitter, or they can drop him down behind Andruw Jones. Either way, he will be 40 next season, so let's hope the old injury bug won't be hitting him. Still, it's a risk worth taking since he still plays very hard each game and can be an All-Star at 2nd.