Infielder Howie Kendrick has been noncommittal about his long-term playing status, suggesting in September he could step away from the game after 15 MLB seasons. However, Kendrick seemed to hint in an Instagram post this afternoon (h/t to Britt Ghiroli of the Athletic) that he is planning to continue his career, along with firmly indicating that he will continue his charitable endeavors off the field. “What a season! Proud to partner with Bank of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to help fuel rallies all season long and make a difference for kids in our communities. See you all next year,” Kendrick wrote.
The Nationals declined their 2021 club option on Kendrick’s services, making the former World Series hero a free agent. Kendrick only hit .275/.320/.385 with two home runs across 100 plate appearances in 2020, but he’s just a year removed from an elite season at the plate. A return to Washington wouldn’t seem to be out of the question, and surely other teams would have some interest in signing a veteran with Kendrick’s track record.
More on some other available players…
- Marcell Ozuna’s free agent market is explored by an MLB.com panel of Mark Bowman, Alyson Footer, Scott Merkin, and Jesse Sanchez, with a particular focus on the White Sox (Merkin’s team on the beat) and Braves (Ozuna’s most recent team, and Bowman’s beat). The White Sox had some interest in Ozuna last winter but now might be looking for more of a full-time outfielder, Merkin says, since star prospect Andrew Vaughn is expected to step into the first base/DH mix alongside Jose Abreu at some point in 2021. Since Ozuna profiles more as a DH over the long term, the Braves might have some hesitation over bringing Ozuna back since it isn’t yet known if the National League will adopt the designated hitter for 2021. However, Bowman also notes that Ozuna quickly became a valued figure in Atlanta due to both his production and clubhouse presence. Early reports have already suggested that the Braves are interested in re-signing Ozuna, but at least nine other clubs have also inquired about his services.
- Tommy Kahnle is weighing multiple two-year offers, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter). Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery in early August, though it isn’t uncommon for recent TJ patients to still land multi-year deals on the open market. In most of these cases, the player receives the bulk of the salary in the second year of the contract and a minimum salary in the first year, with the understanding that most or all of year one will be spent recovering from the surgery. Kahnle, Heyman says, is hoping to return by the end of the 2021 season, which would be on the short end of the usual 12-15 month recovery timeline for Tommy John patients.