The champion Washington Nationals have reportedly agreed to terms with veteran batsman and free agent Howie Kendrick on a one-year contract for 2020. The deal is for $6.25 million and includes a mutual option for the 2021 season, according to multiple reports. Kendrick had multiyear guarantees on the table but chose to return to the Nats, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
Kendrick, 36, is fresh off a 2019 season in which he slashed a mighty .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs and 23 doubles in 121 games. Along the way, Kendrick saw time at first base, second, and third. For his career, Kendrick owns an Ryan Zimmerman, Kendrick may be in line for regular duty at that position in 2020.of 109 across parts of 14 major league seasons. While normally you'd expect regression from a hitter of Kendrick's age putting up those kinds of numbers, batted-ball metrics indicate a high quality of contact from Kendrick last season and thus suggest his level of production (or something close to it) may be sustainable in the near term. On that front, it's worth noting that Kendrick over the last three seasons has an OPS+ of 127. Given the likely departure of longtime first baseman
In addition to Kendrick's impressive season at the plate, he also authored what now stands as, without exaggeration, one of the biggest home runs in World Series history:
Needless to say, he's in for a standing ovation when he's introduced at the Nationals' 2020 home opener.
The Nats still have plenty on their plate this winter, as third baseman Anthony Rendon and right-hander Stephen Strasburg are also free agents and, if not re-signed, will need to be replaced at substantial cost. Bringing back an important piece like Kendrick, though, is a good first step heading into the Winter Meetings.