JANUARY 18: Washington has announced the signing.
JANUARY 15, 2:14pm: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the two sides have reached an agreement, pending a physical (Twitter links). The contract contains an additional $2.25MM worth of incentives that can be unlocked based on plate appearances.
10:01am: The Nationals are nearing a deal with infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The prospective contract would promise the Reynolds Sports Management client $7MM over two years.
If the contract is finalized, Kendrick will return to the place that he thrived in a late-season stint in 2017. His role is not immediately clear, but odds are he’ll see time around the infield as well as the corner outfield. Most importantly, perhaps, adding Kendrick will help the Nats ease the burden on All-Star second baseman Daniel Murphy as he returns from microfracture surgery.
In the aggregate, bringing back Kendrick at this price tag seems to make quite a lot of sense for the Nats. He represents a quality reserve and insurance policy at every position but short and center (along with the battery, of course). Star third baseman Anthony Rendon has had his share of nicks over the years. Outfielder Adam Eaton is returning from ACL surgery, so Kendrick can help reduce his wear-and-tear as well. Kendrick’s righty bat is a natural platoon match with Eaton and fellow corner outfielder Bryce Harper, each of whom hits from the left side, so he can readily spell either over the course of the season.
[RELATED: Updated Nationals Depth Chart]
MLBTR had predicted that Kendrick would get a two-year pact, but at a loftier overall guarantee ($12MM). That reflected not only his long history of solidly above-average production, much of it as a regular at second base, but also a quality output in the 2017 campaign. While he was banged up at times, Kendrick produced on both sides of the mid-season swap that sent him to Washington from the Phillies, ending the year with an overall .315/.368/.475 batting line through 334 plate appearance. And Kendrick has a lengthy record of durability before that.
Between 2010 and 2014, Kendrick functioned as the Angeles’ everyday second bagger. He thrived without standing out in any one area, averaging a .288/.332/.420 batting line with 11 homers and twelve steals per year while generally grading as a plus in the field. After moving to the Dodgers in 2015, though, Kendrick’s defensive grades at his accustomed position slipped. That spurred a move to the corner outfield, where he has been viewed as a roughly average performer, in a 2016 season that was Kendrick’s worst at the plate since he established himself as a big leaguer.
While the 2017 campaign represented something of a return to form, then, expectations will remain in check. Kendrick is already 34 years of age, after all. With the various cracks that have formed in his game, it’s not surprising to see him sign into a situation where he won’t be expected to play every day.
Entering the winter, the Nats justifiably felt most of the pieces were in place for a strong 2018 roster. Even while exploring larger moves — none of which has yet come to fruition — the team has steadily added role players over the course of the winter. Kendrick joins reliever Brandon Kintzler as a 2017 deadline acquisition who was brought back, while the team slotted Matt Adams in as its reserve first baseman and lefty bench bat. Upgrading the catching situation stands out as a remaining possibility, while both the rotation and relief unit could surely still be improved as well.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
I was hoping yankees picked him up to rotate second and third.
Yeah that would’ve been nice for them.
I was hoping yankees picked him up to rotate second and third.
I was hoping there could be a Yankee free comment section.
As was I, not for a 2yr/7mill though.
7 Million over 2 years would be an absolute steal for the Nationals! I have a hard time imagining Kendrick settling for that kind of money after a great year (in which he made 10 million).
I think slowly the players holding out are realizing their high dollar requests are not being met. It may be take the best you can get time period.
Um, yeah, this is starting to feel like collusion to me. Although the owners would be stupid to try that again, so hopefully- hopefully- this is just doing what salary caps are designed to do; put more money into the hands of the owners and less into the people who actually play the game.
Feels like to me some of the dinosaurs in baseball after years and years of failing were replaced by smart young GMs with Ivy League degrees. They’re smarter and less adversed to risk and actually pay players what they are worth for what they will produce this year not for what they have done in the past. The money is less this year because teams needed to be below 197. Teams will blow way past that next year. I’d expect the Yankees dodgers cubs giants all to be over at least the first two ladders of the Lux tax rungs next year. Would anyone be surprised if the yanks dodgers giants cubs were around 230-250 next year with the great free agents available?
It seems more like supply and demand to me. More teams are trading away young players and buyers prefer that to paying big salaries. Also a coincidence that the usual spenders are hanging back this year
Charlie Finley in the 70’s said make them all free agents, Marvin miller was shaking in his boots he didn’t want that at all.
What’s really awesome is those huge price breaks fans will see this year in ticket prices because all these teams are staying under the cap. It’ll be nice to take my kid to a baseball game and only spend like 20 bucks for everything, right?
Technically that was the reserve clause, although with basically a perpetual one-year team option, and yes, it certainly helped the teams pay players far less than they were worth while making the owners extraordinarily rich.
You are right David. Mutt and Jeff are preparing a miss day program for every Saturday. Sandy quips, “you have to understand the humor. The Wilpon’s have been cheap throughout history. So to then kids Saturday means that they are kissing you in giving any breaks when they know that they can milk the fans.”
Its more to do to the unrealistic asking prices of players than owners colluding.
Yes, I think you’re right about the affect of the salary “cap”, but I’ve stated here before that I don’t think it’s so much collusion as it is that most FO’s are now employing analytics to a greater extent, and really do understand the aging curve and age/injury risk much better.
It’s a rare player who continues to perform until his mid-30’s at the same level as his late 20’s.
FO’s know this, and seem to be unwilling to tack the last couple of years of dead money on to contracts that they were willing to just a few years ago – especially players who aren’t superstars.
The market may shift to where teams are willing to pony up a higher AAV (Carlos Santana) in exchange for a shorter deal.
That may decrease the overall value and length of the contracts – i.e. a guy might get 5/120 now instead of 7/150, but teams seem to be really reluctant to pay out that last two years of a contract (in the above example ~40MM) for two years of replacement level production.
The true generational players (Trout, Kershaw, Miggy et al.) are going to get paid and get the length they want, but the merely “good to very good” players I think are going to be hard pressed to get the years they want, especially if they are headed into their decline phase.
The days of the Kemp/Carl Crawford type deals are probably over, and a Santana type deal is probably going to be the reality going forward.
It will be interesting to see what happens with JDM, but if I’m Boston, I wouldn’t move off 5 years. I’d simply count on my pitching to carry me and wait to get another bat at the deadline if I need it..
For instance, suppose the Phillies decide to move one of their young OF during the season? If you’re Boston would you rather have Aaron Altherr who can play all three OF positions and put up a ~.830+ OPS, or JDM who can’t play any of them. Sure, JDM has a way better bat, but let’s not pretend he’s Mike Trout on both sides of the ball or on the bases. If JDM gets 7 years, I’d bet almost anything that the last 2-3 years are a lot of wasted money..
Like I said, I welcome the lower ticket prices teams are going to be charging. I mean, look at the NFL. They have a hard cap, players can be released without pay despite being injured, the ticket prices are the highest of the four major sports, and the owners make insane amounts of money. Win for everyone! (Except the players and fans, but whatevs.)
Ticket prices are simple supply and demand. The patriots sell out every game and you have to pay $150 to get in the door. If they make tickets $50 the tickets are going to sell out instantly and be resold by 3rd parties at what people will pay, $150+.
Yep. But many fans believe that player salaries correlate with ticket prices. They do not.
You just nailed it. Well said.
Again, I don’t think it’s collusion. Yankees and Dodgers aren’t playing (Yankees effectively signed an FA by taking on the Stanton deal, Dodgers are trying to stay under cap), and other big market teams are close to capped out. Some, like the Phillies are only playing in a limited fashion.
Also, with all the long term deals that have turned to crap (you know which ones I mean) for teams there may be collective realization that 6 – 10 year deals for guys in their 30’s make very little to zero sense. There is that thing called the aging curve that almost every FO probably has displayed on their walls.
How many of those deals have worked out? 20%? 30%? 40%? Whatever it is it’s not good, and FOs probably realize it now.
Nationals seem to have a penchant for getting huge bargains on undervalued second basemen.
Don’t remind me (I’m a mets fan). I was hoping we would get Kendrick
I don’t hate Kendrick but as a fellow Mets fan I didn’t have much real interest. Also, you can kind of blame Alderson for Murphy but he did offer him the QO. It was Murphy’s choice to pass on the 16.5 mil for one year and sign 3 year 39 mil with the Nats. But remember like no one wanted him not even the Nats he was their fallback option.
But why didn’t the Mets offer him that same 3/39? That’s the question.
And that question is what will haunt Alderson for all time.
You have a point but after the QO the Mets has zero interest instead they went for Zobrist or bust. I never saw the point of going after him when we could have resigned Murphy for not that much
Because rather than wait and see if Murphy was going to get $80 million he wanted he traded Niese for Walker.
Too soon. -All Met Fans
I have to admit I did laugh a little seeing the words “platoon” and “Bryce Harper” in the same sentence.
Right! I don’t think Todd used the term platoon correctly. Nobody is sticking Bryce Harper in a platoon.
I’m not referring to a platoon system, but the platoon advantage. Though the term no doubt arose in reference to time-share situations, the word “platoon” is context-dependent in baseball. Here, I labeled Kendrick as a general utility piece and, after covering his potential infield usage, noted his potential reserve match first to Eaton and (only then) also to Harper.
Point is: because Kendrick is a (lefty/righty) platoon match to those players, it makes it easier to use him effectively while giving them whatever regular rest is deemed advisable. Anyway, I went ahead and added a little clarification.
Relax, Jeff. Some of us (the smart people 😉 ) knew what you meant.
Even bratty superstars need a day off.
Red Sox and Yankees both missed the boat on this one. Kendrick may prove to be the bargain of the year in this free agent market. Edwin Nunez is still available with a similar skill set as Kendrick, but his price tag will likely be at least twice as much as Kendrick. Kudos to both the Nats and Kendrick for getting it done without the drama and posturing which seems to have become the norm.
I like Kendrick, but def he’s not a viable 3b replacement. He’s not really a guy you feel comfortable beyond a spot start here and there. At 2nd, he’s lost a lot. Makes sense for the Nats not sure he would have for the Yankees or Red Soxs.
Reed will likely be the best “value” for FA signings this off-season. The Hand extension will look better and better over the next few years…barring injury.
Great signing for the Nats. Would’ve rather seen him in a Jays uniform, especially for the price.
They don’t really need Kendrick after trading for Solarte and Diaz.
Agreed but I think I would’ve preferred him over both of the others. At least they didn’t give away a lot of talent in the trades. At least I hope not.
Blue Jays are hogging infield depth as is! Back off!!!
Where the jays gonna play him? OF? Sure but than you have a roster that’s 90% RH again. The jays need someone who bats LH and it would be ideal if they play a corner OF spot and bat leadoff. They should have been in on Dee Gordon, but that ship has sailed.
Wow, that’s a steal for Washington.
Good signing. Plus Jason Werth is probably gone; Victor Robles coming up, so Kendrick can shift around on a playoff caliber team and give em some flexibility, especially in the event of injuries.
Great sign and at a slightly undermarket price.
7MM over 2 years ? I think even the “Coupons from Queens” would say that’s a bargain. I’m sure they’ll call right now trying to top that offer with free ice cream for Howie and his fam
The Coupons may even “upgrade” their offer to include free Shake Shack food.
There would be a cheeseburger limit in the contract
If the Nats use SS Trea Turner and 2B Wilmer Difo, it would be the fastest keystone combo in MLB and better than most other combos. I don’t see how Howie Kendrick fits on the Nats. Kendrick is no longer an IF; they have more than enough quality OF in Bryce Harper, Michael Taylor, Adam Eaton, Brian Goodwin and Victor Robles. Matt Adams backs up Ryan Zimmerman at 1B. I’m more curious how the Nats will improve their catching corps..
Ski to Coors
Lucroy or Avila
They’ve been connected to the Marlins…..looking at Realmuto…..Would be an awesome addition!
Howie’s bat is better than Goodwin’s. Robles is likely staying in the minors to start the year. Kendrick can fill in at 2B, 3B, RF, LF….that is a valuable asset. Also, if he gives the Nats insurance if Murphy leaves and Difo doesn’t pan out as a regular. Resigning him also allows the Nats to consider trading Difo if that helps them keep a top prospect they value more highly.
I think he fits perfectly with the Nats.
Great signing @ great price! Now need starter and catcher.
He’s a guy I wouldn’t have minded the Yankees signing. He can play a lot of positions and still seems to be able to hit well. My guess is the Yankees are waiting on Darvish. Even at this money, every million counts if they really are trying to sign Yu. They’ll have to shed salary to sign Yu and stay under the $197 tax threshold. So signing even a $3-4 million player like Hendrick would make that job even harder. Too bad cuz Kendrick is a nice bargain at this price.
doug mafooski heating n roofing
HOWIE do you do? Pretty good now, huh?
Pretty good deal for both kendrick and the nats. Adds both versatility and some upside. Quality role guy with a lot of young talent on the team.