Howie Kendrick was one of the heroes during the Washington Nationals march to the World Series title. The Cincinnati Reds could use his offensive output.
Howie Kendrick was instrumental in the Washington Nationals World Series Championship. The 36-year-old came up clutch in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his two-run homer in the 7th inning of last night’s Game 7 put the Nationals up for good. Kendrick, a free agent this offseason, would certainly help the Cincinnati Reds desire to improve offensively.
Kendrick, a 14-year veteran, spent the majority of his big league career with the Los Angeles Angels. After nine seasons in the American League, Kendrick maintained the same area code, but switched leagues to join the Dodgers in 2015. After a brief stop in Philadelphia, Kendrick made his way to Washington, where he’s spent the past two-plus seasons.
For his career, Howie Kendrick is a .294 hitter with 125 home runs and 710 RBIs. This past season, Kendrick slashed .344/.395/.572 in 121 games. Defensively, Kendrick saw time at first, second and third base, and as recently as 2018 saw time in the outfield.
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You want postseason experience? Kendrick has 50 games worth of October games under his belt. This postseason alone saw Kendrick play in 17 games with 16 starts. He slashed .286/.328/.444 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs. While I’m not one to normally advocate to sign grizzled veterans that may be a bit long in the tooth, Kendrick seems to get better with age.
After a mediocre season with the Dodgers in 2016 saw Kendrick put up some of the worst numbers of his career, the right-handed hitting slugger returned to form in 2017 with an .844 OPS, the highest of his career to that point. That was, until this season, when Howie Kendrick’s OPS was .966.
For a team like the Reds, adding a player like Kendrick would definitely elevate the team’s offensive profile. With Joey Votto struggling to return to form after two subpar seasons in a row, the Reds don’t have a reliable bat on the ball club outside of Eugenio Suárez. After last year’s offseason slogan to #GetThePitching, this winter the front office needs to #GetTheHitting.
While Reds Country would love to believe that Aristides Aquino could be a power bat in the middle of the Reds lineup, there’s not much of a sample size to speak of. While the front office believes that Nick Senzel can be an above-average hitter, the jury is still out. Jesse Winker shows promise, but can’t stay healthy.
If all the Reds are banking on heading into 2020 is hope for those on the roster, that could be a recipe for disaster. Cincinnati needs to make some solid additions to the lineup. Signing Howie Kendrick would be a good start.
For those wondering where Howie Kendrick would play defensively, having a reliable backup to Joey Votto is a good start. By the numbers, second base is Kendrick’s best defensive position, as he had 1 defensive runs saved in 2019 while playing the middle infield. With uncertainty at that position, the Reds could keep Senzel in center field and platoon Kendrick with a player like Josh VanMeter in order to keep the veteran fresh.
The Cincinnati Reds should kick the tires on almost every free agent that would boost the team’s offensive profile, and Howie Kendrick is a good place to start. His price may be too high and perhaps the Reds have other plans, but a player with Kendrick’s track record is the type of upgrade the front office should have their eye on.