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Report: Nationals sign Howie Kendrick to two-year, $7 million deal

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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.

Brewers’ and Dodgers’ benches empty after Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar get into it

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The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.

With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.

Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.

It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.