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Nationals are close to re-signing Howie Kendrick

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Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals are “closing in” on re-signing Howie Kendrick. It’ll be a one-year, $6.25 million deal with a mutual option for 2021.

Kendrick hit .344/.395/.572 with 17 home runs over 370 plate appearances for the Nationals this past season and had multiple big moments during the Nats’ World Series run. Given that, his defensive versatility, and the fact that there are multiple current openings on the Washington roster at the moment due to guys hitting free agency, it makes all the sense in the world to bring him back.

Kendrick is unlikely to repeat his offensive performance from last year in 2020, but even if he hits way less than he did, he’s still a very useful player for Washington as they seek to defend their title.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.