According to reports, free agent Howie Kendrick has signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $7 million. The deal keeps him in a Nationals uniform through the 2019 season.
The Washington #Nats are closing in on a two-year, $7 million deal for versatile free-agent infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 15, 2018
Howie Kendrick signs with the Washington Nationals
Kendrick, 34, played 91 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals last season. He hit .315/.343/.494 with nine home runs and 41 RBI in 91 games. However, a bad defensive rating (-0.7 WAR) kept him at just 1.4 WAR for the season. His speed was way down with just 12 stolen bases all year.
Kendrick has spent 11 seasons in the majors. Eight of them were with the Los Angeles Angels. He also spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played for the Phillies before being traded to the Nationals in 2017. He has hit .291/.334/.421 in his career with 104 home runs, 636 RBI, and 123 Stolen Bases.
Kendrick, a right-handed utility player, comes from Jacksonville, Florida. Kendrick went to St. Johns River Community College and was drafted in the 10th round of the 2002 Amateur Draft by the Angels. He then made his major league debut in 2006 against the Detroit Tigers. Kendrick went 0-for-4 in his debut.
Kendrick has earned a reputation for being an elite defender. In his 12 seasons, He has a career .986 fielding percentage. Kendrick is also a threat on the base paths. Last season he was able to swipe twenty-two bases. Finally, Kendrick was able to earn an All-Star selection in 2011. That year he slashed .285/.338/.464, with 14 stolen bases, 18 home runs, and 63 RBI while posting a .993 fielding percentage.
Kendrick, 34, is fighting his age, but he is still able to be a reliable platoon player. While the league is headed towards an era of high strikeouts and home runs, defense is still an underrated aspect of the game. Teams looking for a defensive asset, a threat on the base paths, and a solid hitter should look to Kendrick.
The addition of Kendrick gives the Nationals a solid bench player. He can serve in a variety of roles for the team and contribute solid starts at a number of positions if called upon.
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