While it could take weeks or months to settle where marquee free agents Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon will play in 2020 and beyond, Kendrick is the first major name from the Nationals’ World Series team to return to Washington.
Source confirms: #Nationals close to bringing back free-agent infielder Howie Kendrick. Will be one year-deal with mutual option. Had two year-offers, but preferred to go back to D.C. First reported: @dougherty_jesse.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 6, 2019
“Howie Kendrick has been in hot pursuit by several clubs after his postseason heroics but his heart remained with” the Nationals, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said.
Kendrick, 36, was perhaps the most clutch performer Washington had in the playoffs. He hit a grand slam in Game 5 of the National League Division Series to help the Nationals knock off the Dodgers, then hit the go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the World Series.
That capped off an impressive season in which he filled in at first and second base frequently due to injuries to other players. In 121 appearances, he batted .344 and had 62 RBI, 17 home runs and 23 doubles.
Where Kendrick will fill in next year is up in the air. Should Rendon leave, Kendrick has experience at third base. First base is also open at the moment: Ryan Zimmerman said he’ll either return to the Nationals or retire, and Matt Adams is also a free agent.
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