Howie Kendrick is returning to the Washington Nationals after agreeing to a two-year deal.

The Nationals have decided to bring back veteran Howie Kendrick on a two-year deal worth $7 million. The 34-year-old second baseman filled the utility role for Washington after being traded from Philadelphia at last years trade deadline. The deal was fired reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

The signing may be the last one for the Nationals who get a much-needed boost of depth with the return of Kendrick, who provided a surprising spark in 2017.  Kendrick proved productive in the utility role, slashing .293/.343/.494 with seven home runs in 52 games for Washington. Heading into his age 35-year-old season, the veteran Kendrick has been nothing but consistent since breaking into the league with Angels.

Kendrick had been struggling to stick with the club after spending his first nine seasons with the Angels, before splitting the last three seasons with three different clubs. His defensive versatility creates more value for National League teams, and after spending 2015-16 with the Dodgers, showed promise with the Phillies, with a slash line of .340/.397/.454.

The majority of playing time came in the outfield for the Nationals, but with two of their biggest stars in Bryce Harper and Trea Turner both seeing significant time on the disables list last year, keeping Kendrick around helps build depth. He could potentially start the season as the Nationals starting second baseman, as All-Star Daniel Murphy recovers from off-season knee surgery.

But once Murphy returns, Kendrick will fill out a solid bench for Washington that includes heavy-swinging Matt Adams, who Kendrick will compliment well with his lefty bat. But with new manager Dave Martinez coming over from Joe Maddon’s Cubs, don’t be surprised if Martinez finds creative ways to get the veteran Kendrick involved.

With the last two World Series champions winning it all with rosters stuff full of talent, retaining a piece like Kendrick who presents value on both offense and defense should help the Nationals chances in 2018.

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