Howie Kendrick Returns To Washington

According to various media outlets, the Washington Nationals have signed Howie Kendrick to a 2-year pact worth $7 million guaranteed, along with an additional $2.25 million in incentives.  Washington acquired Kendrick last July in an inter-division trade with Philadelphia for prospect McKenzie Mills and international bonus money.

The 34-year-old Kendrick battled injuries much of last season, playing only 91 games for Philadelphia and Washington while hitting .315/.368/.475 with 9 home runs.  In particular Kendrick was invaluable for the Nationals, batting .293/.343/.494 and played four different defensive positions.  For his 12-year career, Kendrick owns a .291/.334/.421 batting line with 104 home runs and 123 stolen bases.  He has impressive barrel skills and a compact right-handed swing, allowing him to be an easy plus hitter.  Additionally, Kendrick has added some defensive versatility in his later years, seeing time at first, second and third base plus both corner outfield spots.  He is not a great defender, but his speed, athleticism and reasonable throwing arm allow him to be passable at each position.

Kendrick should provide valuable depth early this season at second base while Daniel Murphy recovers from offseason knee surgery, and act as a vital pinch-hitter off the bench.  Not to mention Kendrick will serve as a starting-quality backup behind Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman, each of whom have had injury issues in the past.

Although the Hot Stove feels rather frigid this winter, the Nationals have done a nice job securing three veterans (Kendrick, Matt Adams & Brandon Kintzler) to fill voids on the roster at reasonable prices. Overall there is very little to quibble with this signing, although Kendrick does have some risks involved in his profile.  He will turn 35 this season and just completed his best offensive season in six years, leading to the obvious conclusion some regression is coming this season offensively.  However, Kendrick is a born hitter with natural athleticism, giving plenty of hope he should continue to be productive the next two years.  And considering Washington needed additional depth and made only a $7 million total guarantee, this is a terrific signing for the Nationals to secure Kendrick through 2019.

NatsGM Overall Grade ->             A- / B+

THE Joshua Kusnick Experience #21 – “Fired At Cracker Barrel”

Shifting our format slightly for 2018, this episode of THE Joshua Kusnick Experience has Josh reflecting on how he got fired by major league superstars Kenley Jansen and Lorenzo Cain, plus his first meeting as an agent.  Additionally, Josh talks Christmas dinners with Leslie Nielsen and having Mr. Belding call me from the Winter Meetings.

Thanks for downloading – IF there are future topics or general questions you have for Josh, please leave them in the comment’s section below or on Twitter @JoshKusnickPod.

THE NatsGM Show #118 – Guest Andrea La Pointe

To help combat the cold weather blues, THE NatsGM Show has dropped our 1st episode of 2018 and we are proud to welcome future major league baseball operations intern, Andrea La Pointe!

Our interview begins with a quick introduction to Andrea, her impressive background working in politics, and the similarities she sees both in politics and baseball.  Next she describes her passion for developing Latin American prospects and some ideas on improving the success rate of these players reaching the major leagues.  Then our conversation shifts to her experience attending the MLB Winter Meetings both in 2016 and 2017, in particular as a female job seeker.  Finally Andrea shares a bit about her upcoming job in baseball starting this summer and plays a game of “Rapid Fire”.

Thank you to Andrea for being a tremendous guest and to you for downloading.  And remember, if you give this show a 5-star Rating & Review on Apple Podcasts, we will send you a free shirt!

A New Adams Comes To Washington

Wednesday the New York Post’s Joel Sherman reported the Washington Nationals and free agent Matt Adams had agreed on a 1-year deal worth $4 million, plus $500,000 in possible incentives.  The 29-year-old first baseman spent 2017 with both St. Louis and Atlanta, batting .274/.319/.522 with 20 home runs and 65 runs driven in.  Atlanta decided to non-tender Adams earlier this winter, rather than pay him a projected $4.6 million during arbitration.

Drafted by St. Louis in the 23rd round in 2009 from Slippery Rock University, Adams slugged his way through the Cardinals’ minor league system, reaching the majors in 2012.  During his 6-year major league career, the left-handed hitting Adams is a .271/.315/.469 batter over 586 total games.  Of particular interest to Washington is Adams’ ability to punish right-handed pitching, to the tune of .286/.333/.495 for his career.  Conversely, he struggles mightily against lefties, hitting a dreadful .206/.236/.357.  He projects to fill Adam Lind’s role from 2017 as a backup to Ryan Zimmerman at first base and a fearsome pinch hitter option late in games.

Building off Adam Lind, he and Matt Adams are eerily similar players – both are left-handed hitting first basemen whom have dabbled unsuccessfully playing corner outfield.  Lind is a career .272/.330/.465 hitter and a .288/.348/.504 hitter against righties, verses .271/.315/.469 and .286/.333/.495 for Adams – Washington interestingly passed on Lind’s $5 million contract option last month, only to sign Adam Lind 2.0 (aka Matt Adams) for $1 million less.

General Manager Mike Rizzo has done a nice job this winter targeting proven veterans to fill voids on the roster.  We are still awaiting official confirmation on the Brandon Kintzler contract and Adams must pass his physical, but considering the budget constraints, securing both for meager 2018 salaries is a clear win.  Adams is a flawed player who must be limited to first base defensively and hitting only against righties, but utilized properly, can be a highly productive hitter.  There is some risk involved in this signing due to his limitations, but Washington has found a nice value and quality match  with Matt Adams.

NatsGM Overall Grade ->             Solid B, Borderline B+