Kennedy, 34, batted .249/.327/.327 in 389 plate appearances for Washington this year. He joins a free agent market filled with some solid regulars and others who will have to battle for playing time. Kennedy is not a ranked free agent, so the Nats have no shot at draft pick compensation.
After missing out on Orlando Hudson to the Twins last winter, the Nationals turned their focus to Adam Kennedy, signing him to an affordable $1.25MM deal. Washington holds a $2MM option for 2011 with a $500K buyout, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson writes that it's "unlikely" Kennedy returns to the Nats in 2011. He says he'll talk with GM Mike Rizzo about his future soon.
Kennedy's offensive success in 2009 (.289/.348/.410) hasn't carried over to the 2010 season (.252/.321/.335), but his defense has returned to form and matches up more closely with his career UZR/150 mark of 7.9 at second base. In total, he's still been worth almost a full win (0.9 WAR) in limited playing time.
The combination of Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, who has impressed in his debut this season, has likely spelled the end of Kennedy's time in D.C., however (speculation on my part) at $2MM he could be retained if he's willing to accept a bench role. He's seen time at second, third, and first base over the past two seasons, and still runs fairly well. The Nationals traded one utility infielder, Cristian Guzman, to the Rangers last month, so there could be an opening to fill that role.
If he does enter free agency, Kennedy will join a second base class that's once again headlined by Hudson, but doesn't feature any elite names. He'd likely be looking at a contract similar to the one he signed in Washington.
The Nationals are drawing interest in Adam Kennedy and Cristian Guzman, but are not progressing towards a deal for either infielder, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Red Sox and Phillies are among the contenders who could look to acquire infield help, though none of those teams have necessarily called the Nationals.
Kennedy, 34, makes just $1.25MM this year ($2MM option or $500K buyout for 2011) so virtually any contender could afford his salary. His .240/.316/.327 line won't dazzle suitors, but he has postseason experience from his days in Anaheim and enough versatility to play first, second and third.
Guzman earns $8MM this year, before hitting free agency after the season. The 32-year-old has a .299/.340/.377 line in 2010 and has spent time at second, short and in right field this year. That presumably appeals to rival teams, but Guzman can veto any trade because he has ten and five rights.
Let's dive into the latest edition of Full Count from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports..
- The Padres are seeking a durable starting pitcher as they approach the deadline. The Padres know that they need a bat but their offense is so weak that they fear a lack of quality starting pitching might derail them faster than a lack of hitting. Durable starters are hard to come by on the trade market, but the Diamondbacks' Edwin Jackson could be a fit.
- The Marlins changed skippers thinking that they were a better team than they've shown, but that hasn't been the case thus far. Unless they rally, the club will end up as sellers. Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross, and Ricky Nolasco all hold value. Nolasco's name hasn't come up much, but he could be one of the better starting pitchers on the market. Uggla and his big bat are still sought after, even though his salary could rise to about $10MM in arbitration next season.
- Toronto's Shaun Marcum could still be a trade chip, even after going on the disabled list with inflammation of the right elbow. The club expects him to be back before the All-Star break and if so, he should be one of the better starters available. The Jays could be active sellers as they have several more attractive pieces. Relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are both potential free agents. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez and outfielder Jose Bautista could also get some bites.
- Nats GM Mike Rizzo told Rosenthal that the club is getting interest in five or six players in trade discussion. While Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham are getting all the buzz, Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy could be attractive to teams in need of infield help. Matt Capps could be a trade chip as well now that he has recovered from his slump. They control the closer through next season, though they may look to cash in on his value while it is peaking.
7:30pm: According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Phillies haven't talked to the Nationals about Kennedy.
1:31pm: The Phillies learned today that Chase Utley will be out for several weeks due to thumb surgery, and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com chimes in with some possible replacement options. He notes that the replacement doesn't necessary have to be a second baseman (Twitter link), because the team can use Placido Polanco at that position once he's healthy. That opens up the possibility of a trade for a third baseman.
Rosenthal says that former Phillie Pedro Feliz is an unlikely target, citing a scout who says his bat speed is "gone." Feliz has hit just .229/.255/.317 in 255 plate appearances this year, and his trademark defense has declined back to a -4.3 UZR this season. The Fox Sports scribe throws the names of Miguel Tejada, Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, Adam Kennedy, and Jose Lopez into the mix (Twitter links). The Mariners are actively trying to move Lopez, according to Rosenthal.
For the now, Philadelphia will try to tread water with the combination of Wilson Valdez and Greg Dobbs at second and third, respectively. They've combined to hit just .222/.252/.338 in 222 plate appearances this season, and Jack Moore at FanGraphs chronicled just how big of a downgrade this is for the Phillies.
The Rockies are interested in Ty Wigginton and will monitor the market for infielders, but they will wait to see if the club remains in contention before dealing for infield help. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that for now, the Rockies will rely on Clint Barmes and Jonathan Herrera while Troy Tulowitzki's broken wrist heals. If the Rockies remain in contention after they play seven consecutive series against winning teams, they could pursue infield help.
If the 37-33 Rockies are contending in mid-July, Rosenthal suggests Wigginton and Dan Uggla as possible targets. Other infielders such as Adam Kennedy, Akinori Iwamura, Jayson Nix and Ryan Theriot could also draw interest from GM Dan O'Dowd and the rest of the Rockies front office. But at least for now, the team is in wait-and-see mode.
On this date back in 1974, the Red Sox released Orlando Cepeda and Luis Aparicio, both future Hall of Famers. Cepeda, then 36, signed with Kansas City and retired after the season as a .297/.350/.499 career hitter with 379 home runs. Aparicio, 39 at the time, never played again following his release, and finished his career as a .262/.311/.343 hitter and with a reputation as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball history.
Here are some links from around the baseball blogosphere…
- Josh's Thoughts acknowledges the possibility that it may not have been the best move for the Twins to sign Joe Mauer to such a huge deal since it will eat up a large chunk of their payroll.
- Pittsburgh Lumber Co. compares a theoretical Andrew McCutchen extension to Justin Upton's deal.
- The Daily Something calls Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy the two most redundant players in baseball.
- Camden Crazies wonders if Chin-Lung Hu makes sense for the Orioles.
- Gear Up For Sports asks if you could only keep one, who would it be: Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp?
- Mets Paradise tries to figure out the Mets' Opening Day roster.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
The Nationals officially signed second baseman Adam Kennedy to a one-year $1.25MM deal today, which includes a $2MM club option for 2011. Kennedy's fate was known to be tied to Orlando Hudson, who signed with the Twins the day before Kennedy agreed to terms with the Nats.
Kennedy, 34, hit .289/.348/.410 in 586 plate appearances for the Athletics last year. In his career he's been a strong defender at second base, though that was not evident in 2009's 421-inning sample.
The Cardinals released Kennedy in February of '08, eating most of the $4MM owed to him. The Rays signed him to a minor league deal and traded him to Oakland for a player to be named later in May. The Rays later received Joe Dillon in that deal.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Links for Friday…
- Tim Dillard, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, cleared waivers, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter).
- Don't expect the Twins to add much to their 2010 payroll. GM Bill Smith tells Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the team is nearing the "upper extremes" of what it can spend (Twitter link).
- The Blue Jays are no longer in on Carlos Delgado, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says the Twins had one of the best offseasons in baseball.
- Alex Anthopoulos doesn't expect to trade any of his relievers before the season starts, tweets MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. However, the Jays GM points out that things can change.
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier compares Victor Martinez to similar catchers to hit free agency in recent years. Speier writes that after this season V-Mart could be in line for a four-year $40MM deal like the ones Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek signed. Some consider Martinez a first baseman going forward, which would make him a "completely different animal" in the eyes of interested teams.
- Those small market Twins will open the season with a payroll of about $96MM, writes Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Derek Jeter hits free agency after the season and Hank Steinbrenner says we can "pretty much assume" what will happen at that point given Jeter's place in Yankee history (link from the Philadelphia Daily News).
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer tells Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald that he hasn't ruled out signing Adrian Gonzalez long-term. That seems unlikely given the offers Gonzalez could demand as a free agent.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson tweets that Adam Kennedy will be the Nats' everday second baseman, which likely leaves Cristian Guzman at short.
- Now the Nats will look for a veteran starter, tweets Ladson.
- Jesus Guzman cleared waivers and will receive an invitation to Giants Spring Training, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Giants designated the infielder for assignment in late January.
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star tweets that Jarrod Washburn may be too expensive for the Royals.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that some within the Dodgers organization called Orlando Hudson "Slow-Dog" because they were surprised he wasn't faster. Some Dodgers officials believe Hudson's defensive reputation is better than it should be.
Thursday night linkage..
- With Hudson having agreed to a deal with the Twins, Jon Heyman of SI tweets that he anticipates the Nationals considering Adam Kennedy.
- Jarrod Washburn is only considering two teams at present – the Twins and the Mariners. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that if he doesn't receive an offer from either club or expand his list, the 35-year-old hurler may retire.
- Orlando Hudson would be a great fit for the Twins, writes Rob Neyer of ESPN. Neyer writes that the extra one or two wins that Hudson's addition represents are worth at least $3MM. However, according to Buster Olney, Hudson has been offered a one-year pact worth $5MM.
- Despite Travis Buck's reported dissatisfaction with the organization, A's GM Billy Beane is not looking to move the outfielder writes Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.
- Spurred by the recent pickups of Joe Inglett and Marco Estrada, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com takes a look back at the Brewers' best waiver wire moves in recent years. One of the best hidden gems was one of GM Doug Melvin's earliest acquisitions, Scott Podsednik.
- The Orioles have signed Joel Guzman to a minor league deal, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The 25-year-old, once one of baseball's top prospects, will not receive an invite to Spring Training. In 108 games with the Nationals' Double-A affiliate last season, Guzman hit .281/.352/.447 with 12 HRs.