SEPTEMBER 26: Kendrick elaborated a bit on his situation yesterday (via Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com). He’d initially planned to retire at the end of the 2020 season, but the year’s unusual nature has at least given him pause.
“Man, do you want to go out like this? Do you want 2020 to be any worse?” Kendrick rhetorically asked. “2020 has been strange, due to COVID and all the other climate going around the country. It is a strange year. And to think you would end on a year like this … it is a tough one.”
SEPTEMBER 25: The excellent performance of Nationals infielder Howie Kendrick was one of the reasons the team won its first-ever World Series title in 2019, but he and the club have offered disappointing showings this season. Nearly 12 months later, the Nationals are going to miss the playoffs, and they may not have Kendrick in the fold next season.
While the Nationals and Kendrick share a $6.5MM mutual option for 2021, the 37-year-old said Friday he’s unsure whether he’s planning on continuing his career, Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post tweets. Kendrick, who hasn’t played since Sept. 5 because of a hamstring strain, wants to check on his health before committing to another season. The Nationals, meanwhile, could buy Kendrick out for $2.25MM during the coming weeks, so it’s unknown whether he’ll stay with the team even if he does keep his career going.
Kendrick, a former Angel, Dodger and Phillie whom the Nats acquired from Philadelphia in 2017, has mostly been very good in Washington. He was one of the majors’ top regular-season hitters last year with a .344/.395/.572 mark and 17 home runs in 370 plate appearances, and he smacked the go-ahead HR in the seventh inning of what proved to be a Game 7 World Series victory over the Astros. While Kendrick will live on in Washington lore for his Fall Classic heroics, his output fell to earth during a 110-PA 2020 campaign in which he batted .275/.320/.385 with two homers.