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Howie Kendrick wins Heart and Hustle Award

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Every year, the MLB Players Alumni Association announces a winner for its annual Heart and Hustle Award. The award is given to the player who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball.” The winner of the 2019 award is Nationals infielder Howie Kendrick.

The finalists, one from each team, were announced in July.

Kendrick, 36, hit .344/.395/.572 with 23 doubles, 17 home runs, 62 RBI, and 61 runs scored in 370 plate appearances for the Nationals during the regular season. He spent most of his time at first base but also logged significant innings at second and third base. During the postseason, Kendrick batted .386/.328/.444 with a pair of homers and 12 RBI. He earned NLCS MVP honors, helping the Nationals sweep the Cardinals and advance to the World Series, where they defeated the Astros in seven games.

Kendrick is the first member of the Nationals to win the award. The winners since the award’s inception in 2005:

2005: SS David Eckstein, Cardinals
2006: 2B Craig Biggio, Astros
2007: 2B Craig Biggio, Astros
2008: OF Grady Sizemore, Indians
2009: 1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2010: SP Roy Halladay, Phillies
2011: OF Torii Hunter, Angels
2012: OF Mike Trout, Angels
2013: 2B Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
2014: UT Josh Harrison, Pirates
2015: 1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2016: 3B Todd Frazier, White Sox
2017: OF Brett Gardner, Yankees
2018: OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.