Veteran utility player Howie Kendrick will be wearing a Nationals jersey for the next two years after a 2-year, $7 Million deal was reached on Monday. The team has not yet confirmed the deal.
Kendrick, in 334 plate appearances in 2017, hit .315 with 9 home runs, 41 RBI, .844 OPS, 1.4 WAR, and a 119 OPS+ (100 is league average).
Howie Kendrick appeared to be a rental for the Nationals when he came over from the Phillies in a Mid-season deal last year, but now the Nats have locked up the 34-year-old veteran for the next 2-years for the low price of $3.5 Million per year. Kendrick will also be able to earn an additional $2.25 Million in incentives based on plate appearances.
The longtime Angels second baseman made $10 Million last year playing for the Phillies and Nationals and it is somewhat surprising that he accepted a deal that will pay him less than half of what he made in the year prior.
Kendrick got playing time at 4 different positions in 2017, playing 4 games at first base, 15 games at second base, 3 games in right field, and 62 games in left field. The versatile Kendrick has also played 17 games at third base as recent as 2016. The World Series hopeful Nationals will now have a fallback plan if they have an injury in the infield or outfield.
All in all, this was a nifty deal by the Nationals and it will come at a very low risk. The Nationals may be using Kendrick at second base frequently in 2017, with Daniel Murphy recovering from a microfracture surgery on his right knee and potentially not being ready to play on opening day. The Nationals now have one of the best utility players in baseball and will get him for the MLB equivalent of chump change.