After a magical season where he helped the Washington Nationals win the 2019 World Series, the Miami Marlins need to sign Howie Kendrick this winter.
While it is a bit of a gamble to think a 36-year-old utility player would want to leave Washington after he put together the best season of his career and helped the Nationals win the World Series, it doesn’t hurt to gamble a bit and see if there is some interest.
As Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday night, Kendrick helped give the Nationals a World Series title of the Houston Astros in a series where no home team won and delivered in dramatic fashion.
"“In the seventh inning of the final baseball game of the 2019 season, a 36-year-old man, a decade and a half into a career marked by professionalism and consistency and reliable maturity, ran down the dugout stairs, bounced through a line of outstretched hands and danced,” Janes explains.More from Marlins NewsMiami Marlins news: Another target goneWhy didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offerMiami Marlins are pursuing Michael ConfortoMiami Marlins need to spend to win“He danced and danced and danced. He hopped and spun as his colleagues followed. He sat and revved an invisible car into gear. And as he yelled, his teammates yelled, dancing with the rare joy that comes from watching what once felt impossible materialize just in time.”"
That’s the kind of infectious play and celebration this organization needs. The Marlins took chances last offseason in low-budget deals for both Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson with mixed results. Neither player figures to be back in Miami for the 2020 season.
In 2018, Kendrick signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Nationals. He made $4 million in 2019. The Marlins will have over $33 million on the books for next season and can afford to spend more than that to bring Kendrick, a native of North Florida, home to play baseball and serve as a mentor to the Marlins plethora of young prospects.
The Marlins will most likely stay away from bidding on players with ultra-expensive contracts. That means grabbing someone like Kendrick’s teammates Anthony Rendon may be off the table. Someone like Nick Markakis from Atlanta may fit into their “profile” and of course, there is Jose Abreu who has been linked to this roster for some time.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com echoes some of the things we are talking about in this story.
"“I do not expect the Marlins to pursue the big-ticket free agents on the market, like Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon. But the club still will pursue free agents that make sense and are upgrades,” he adds.“José Abreu will be an interesting veteran to monitor, because he plays first base, a position of need, and is a middle-of-the-order threat. If there is a qualifying offer made by the White Sox on Abreu, that potentially could reduce Miami’s interest. The Marlins aren’t likely to make a play on any free agent that has a qualifying offer. A more realistic free-agent target is someone like Howie Kendrick.”"
Kendrick really isn’t a huge drop off in terms of what the team would get in value. If the Marlins do release Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, Kendrick gives them some power and defense at multiple positions. That’s something the coaching staff and manager Don Mattingly want with players on the 26-man roster.
For the season, Kendrick batted .344 in 121 games with 17 home runs and 62 RBI.