Howie Kendrick, a veteran utility infielder who led the Nationals to their first-ever World Series, re-signed with the team on Friday.
Kendrick signed a one-year $6.25 million deal that carries a mutual option for 2021. The deal is pending a physical.
Kendrick, who will turn 37 in July, has been a part of the Nationals since being acquired in a trade by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017. He re-signed with the team in 2018, and while he missed the entire 2018 season due to a ruptured Achilles, he fought back and had a career year in 2019. Kendrick hit .344 with 17 home runs in 370 plate appearances while playing at first, second, and third throughout the season.
Kendrick’s career year carried over into the postseason where he hit a grand slam in the tenth inning of Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He was named the MVP of the NL Championship Series after hitting .333 with four doubles and four RBI in the four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kendrick also hit the go-ahead home run in Game 7 against the Houston Astros.
— RMNB (@russianmachine) October 31, 2019
During Kendrick’s speech at the World Series Parade in DC, Kendrick credited the Nationals and the DC area for reinvigorating his love of baseball.
“When I came here, I was thinking about retiring in my career,” Kendrick said. “Honestly, I was at a rough spot in the game. Being with another organization kind of got me down on the game a little bit. Coming here, my first year was with Dusty and I had a great time. This group of guys here, not all of them, but most of them were here. They taught me to love the game again. They taught me to love baseball again.
“Mike Rizzo, after my first year here, he said ‘hey I am going to bring you back here.’ He gave me a two-year deal,” Kendrick added. “I ruptured my Achilles in the first year of that deal and I was miserable sitting at home watching us lose ball games. Watching the guys not having success. That whole process brought me back to these guys, this group of guys here. I fought through that whole thing. I told them I would be ready for Spring Training and Spring Training came around, I was ready, I got hurt again. It delayed the start of my season but all I could think about was getting back to the locker room to be with these guys. We added some pieces along the way and the one thing I learned from them is that we are never out of the fight. We keep fighting. And we fight, and fight, and fight and when you kick us down, we are going to get back up. That’s what we did all year. Everybody gave up on us early, we kept fighting. We believed in each other. We have a lot of bulldogs in this locker room. We have a lot of puppies in this locker room too, but they are all welcome though. And you know what? Bumpy roads do lead to beautiful places. This trophy right here is proof of that. This is for you DC!”
Kendrick also happened to re-sign on his best friend, Adam Eaton’s, birthday. The two of them started celebrating home runs by driving fake cars in the dugout, a move that went viral in the World Series.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 31, 2019
Welcome back, Howie.
Headline photo: Ian Oland
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