Washington Nationals: Howie Kendrick, piece in the business/loyalty aspect of baseball
With the Washington Nationals losing consistently and comfortably sitting in last place in the NL East, will they try to sell off a few pieces, most notably, Howie Kendrick?
When we get to September baseball what uniform will Howie Kendrick be wearing?
The trade winds have shifted in Washington DC I’d say. Recently, General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters the Nationals would be buyers at the deadline. Then the team went out and lost three of five to the Miami Marlins before dropping two in a row to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Sitting six games under .500 and having a record better than only the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, one would think the Nationals are no longer looking too add pieces to compete for the playoffs.
Will they stand pat at the deadline, or will they sell off?
There are a host of potential free agents on the team. Players who would make great rentals for other teams looking to bolster their roster.
Sean Doolittle just came back from injury, and even though he has had a down year, could be available. Kurt Suzuki is in the last year of his contract. Even Asdrubal Cabrera makes sense for some teams.
The most intriguing name out there is Howie Kendrick.
Kendrick turned down more money and more years this past offseason to return to Washington on a one year/$6.25M contract. Kendrick chose to be loyal to the team he helped win a World Series.
Arguably one of the best hitters in the 2019 postseason, his grand slam against the Los Angeles Dodgers, his NLCS MVP, and his two-run, go-ahead, home run in Game 7 of the World Series made him a hot commodity entering free agency.
He chose the Nationals, on somewhat of a home town discount.
Now, with the Nats sitting at 11-17, and the trade deadline only a handful of days away, what will they choose? Will they choose to be loyal to Kendrick, or will they prove once again baseball is a business, and shop him.
At the ripe age of 37 Kendrick is proving he can still play the game. He is hitting .302, and while he has only appeared on defense at first base this year, as recently as last year also played second base and third base.
Most likely he’d slot as a designate hitter, pinch hitter, or defensive replacement late in games. His price tag may seem lofty for this, though for his postseason heroics and veteran leadership, teams will be happy to take on his remaining salary.
When the Nationals picked up Kendrick at the trade deadline in 2017, I applauded the move. He has done nothing but hit since coming aboard. Injuries have derailed his playing time, though in his 231 games played in a Nationals uniform he’s hitting .320.
I love me some Howie Kendrick and hope he is wearing a Nationals jersey when he takes the field in September.