Cincinnati Reds: Free agent options to platoon with Joey Votto at first base

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 25: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Howie Kendrick #12 of the Washington Nationals bats against the Cincinnati Reds.
CINCINNATI, OH – MARCH 30: Howie Kendrick #12 of the Washington Nationals bats against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Howie Kendrick /

Howie Kendrick, Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals declined the exercise their team option on infielder Howie Kendrick, effectively making him a free agent. The hero for the Washington Nationals during the 2019 postseason, Kendrick would bring playoff experience and a consistent bat to the Cincinnati Reds; something this organization sorely needs.

The Reds addition of Mike Moustakas last winter showed a willingness to win. Moustakas had been part of several successful teams and was handsomely rewarded with a four-year/$64M contract. While Kendrick might not fit the mold of an multi-time All-Star, he was the NLCS MVP in 2019.

Injuries shelved Kendrick for all but 25 games this past season, but he still managed a .275 batting average and .320 on-base percentage. Like every other player on this list, he’s not a left-handed hitter, which would afford Cincinnati’s manager David Bell to play the percentages.

While Kendrick played second base throughout the majority of his big league career, he’s seen over 50 games at first base over the last two seasons. In fact, that was his exclusive position with the Nats last season, though he also saw time as the team’s designated hitter.

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Kendrick was a much more sought-after commodity following his success in the postseason following the 2019 season. Coming off an injury-plagued 2020 campaign and entering what would be his age-37 season may affect his ability to land a considerable contract. The Reds should explore the idea of adding Kendrick to give Joey Votto a few days off per week.