Reds rumors: Free agent Howie Kendrick on the Cincinnati Reds wish list

The latest Reds rumors have World Series hero Howie Kendrick being pursued by the Cincinnati Reds. Kendrick could play second base for the Reds in 2020.

The Reds rumors are beginning to build, as the club is now reportedly interested in World Series hero Howie Kendrick. Kendrick played a huge role this postseason for the Washington Nationals, and his home run in the top of the seventh inning of Game 7 put the Nats up for good on the way to their first-ever World Series title. Kendrick’s bat fills a definite need for the Cincinnati Reds.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds are joining the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins in pursuit of the 36-year-old Kendrick. The right-handed hitting infielder put up 2.6 WAR last season with a .344 batting average and .395 on-base percentage.

Kendrick is a versatile player with 50 postseason games under his belt. While the majority of Kendrick’s time in the league has spent playing second base, he also has the ability to play first and third base and saw time in the outfield as recently as 2018. With second base void of a starter heading into 2020, Kendrick could have a starting role on next year’s Reds squad.

Cincinnati has several options currently on the roster, should they not upgrade the position through free agency or a trade. Josh VanMeter, Freddy Galvis and José Peraza all saw time at second base in 2019. Some fans have suggested that last year’s rookie Nick Senzel needs return to the infield, a position he played throughout his entire professional career until last season.

Kendrick definitely checks the box in terms of offensive production. Over the past three seasons, Kendrick has slashed .325/.373/.516 with 30 home runs and 115 RBIs in 791 at-bats. Kendrick was limited to just 91 games in 2017 due to an abdominal injury.

The former All-Star also missed the majority of the 2018 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. However, this season, Kendrick stayed fairly healthy and played in 121 games in 2019 with 35 starts at first base. Along those lines, Kendrick would give the Cincinnati Reds a solid backup to Joey Votto who’s coming off back-to-back subpar seasons.

Most fans will look at the advanced age of Howie Kendrick and immediately shake their heads. While Kendrick is older than every player in the Reds clubhouse, having a veteran presence with playoff experience is very valuable. Kendrick showed this past season that he’s still able to put the bat on the ball, something few on last year’s Cincinnati team were able to do.

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With the offseason in full swing, we’re bound to see tons of Reds rumors in the coming weeks. With Dick Williams and Nick Krall promising an increase in payroll, adding a bat like Kendrick’s wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

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