Kendrick announced his retirement from baseball on his personal Instagram page Monday. The 37-year-old had previously hinted at playing one more season, as the pandemic-filled 2020 campaign was an odd note to end on, but he evidently elected to go through with his original plan to call it quits. He'll end his 15-year career with 1,747 hits, 127 homers and 126 steals, hitting .294/.337/.430 overall. While his only All-Star appearance came back in 2011 with the Angels, his late-career renaissance helped the Nationals to their first-ever title in 2019, a year in which he hit .344/.395/.572, good for career bests in all three categories. He was a major part of that title run, winning NLCS MVP and hitting the go-ahead homer in Game 7 of the World Series.
Kendrick (hamstring) plans to continue his playing career in 2021, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic reports. According to Ghiroli, Kendrick initially intended for 2020 to be his final season, but he's chosen to play "at least" one more year after the pandemic-shortened campaign didn't afford him a proper sendoff. After thriving in a part-time role with the Nationals in the team's run to its first World Series title in 2019, Kendrick saw his OPS fall 262 points while he struggled with injuries in 2020. Now that the 37-year-old has seemingly made a full recovery from the left hamstring strain that he suffered in early September, he'll look to find work with a team as a bench bat or as part of a platoon at designated hitter.
The Nationals declined Kendrick's (hamstring) $6.5 million team option for 2021 on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports. Kendrick and the Nationals came to terms last winter on a one-year contract that included a mutual option for 2021, but Washington elected not to renew their side of the deal. The 37-year-old will pocket $2.25 million in a buyout, and he could end up re-signing with Washington this winter if the team views him an ideal right-handed option off the bench. He appeared in only 25 games during the abbreviated 2020 campaign due to back and hamstring injuries, slashing .275/.320/.385 over 100 plate appearances.
Kendrick (hamstring) shut down his rehab work and won't return this season, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. The veteran slugger apparently decided to shut things down once he was informed he would have a chance of injuring himself further if he pushed himself too hard, and he didn't want to rejoin the team while being significantly limited. According to Dougherty, Kendrick has yet to decide if he's going to continue his career in 2021, and the progression in his recovery this offseason figures to play a role in his eventual decision. He has a $6.5 million mutual option with the Nationals that includes a $2.25 million buyout for next season.
Kendrick (hamstring) joined the Nationals' taxi squad during the team's recently completed road trip and continues to make progress in his rehab, Mark Zuckerman of MASNSports.com reports. "We're going to be careful with him," Martinez said of Kendrick. "He's had these hamstring issues before. We've talked about this: We don't want him to blow out now. But we told him as soon as [he's] ready and we deem that [he] can play, we'll activate him and see if we can get him back this week." The 20-32 Nationals are officially eliminated from playoff contention, but that apparently won't stop Kendrick from staging a comeback attempt during the final week of the regular season. Martinez estimated that Kendrick was running at about 60 percent speed in his most recent workout, so the 37-year-old looks like he still has a few hurdles to clear before the Nationals give him the green light to resume playing. If Kendrick does make it back from the 10-day injured list, he could be limited to making starts at designated hitter or serving as a pinch hitter off the bench.