Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reported this morning that the Nationals and utilityman Howie Kendrick were nearing a contract agreement. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic later confirmed that the two sides did indeed agree to terms on a two-year, $7 million contract.
Kendrick, 34, started last season with the Phillies and performed quite well when he was healthy. He hit .340/.397/.454 in 156 plate appearances. He battled a hamstring injury at the end of June and into July. The Phillies sent him to the Nationals ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline. In 52 games with the Nationals, Kendrick hit .293/.343/.494 in 178 PA.
The Nationals are spoken for at every position, so Kendrick will almost certainly contribute off the bench and serve as depth in the event of an injury. He had spent the vast majority of his career playing second base, but has played first and third base as well as in the outfield in recent years.
The Red Sox reportedly inked free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez to a five-year, $110 million contract last Monday, but there appears to be a slight hitch in the process. According to a report from Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston, the team is sorting through a medical issue that has delayed the signing. The specific nature of the issue has yet to be revealed, though Drellich adds that both the team and agent Scott Boras have involved additional medical experts in the process.
For what it’s worth, Martinez remained fairly healthy during his 2017 run with the Tigers and Diamondbacks. The 30-year-old outfielder spent six weeks on the disabled list after suffering a right foot sprain during camp, but managed to make a full recovery by mid-May and didn’t relapse once throughout the rest of the year. Of course, the medical issue holding up his new contract could be of an entirely different nature.
While spring training is already underway for the rest of the Red Sox, club manager Alex Cora doesn’t appear too concerned by Martinez’s absence — yet. “The thing I can do is my thing,” he told MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”