Regardless of how hot the Hot Stove Season actually is this year — it’s been lukewarm, at best, the past few offseasons — Sporting News will have you covered with all the trade rumors and free-agent rumblings you can handle.
Rumor: Rays, Marlins interested in Howie Kendrick
Source: The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli
Howie Kendrick drawing a lot of early interest, including the Rays. Marlins also interested. He's from Florida, but lives in the Phoenix area now in the offseason. Veteran looking for a short deal.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) November 6, 2019
Need to know: Kendrick, obviously, was a huge part of the Nationals’ amazing 2019 season. He hit .344 in 370 plate appearances during the regular season, with 17 homers, a 142 OPS+ and 2.6 bWAR. And though he’s not exactly an above-average defender, he does offer good versatility. Kendrick started at least 10 games at first base, second base and third base last season, and he’s started nearly 200 games in left field in his career, too.
Oh, and then he popped two HUGE home runs during October — Game 5 of the NLCS and Game 7 of the World Series — that helped the Nationals to a World Series title.
Could this happen: Kendrick, on a one- or two-year deal, feels like a pretty perfect option for the Rays, right? He’s the type of productive veteran who has long been a good fit with that organization’s philosophy. But it’s hard to imagine that Kendrick, a competitive veteran who just won his first World Series, would want anything to do with the rebuilding Marlins.
Potential domino effect: The Nationals have lots of moving pieces, Kendrick included. If Anthony Rendon leaves for a massive contract elsewhere, Kendrick could be part of that solution. But it hardly seems likely that Kendrick will wait for Rendon’s decision, which, if recent big-money deals are any indication, won’t happen anytime soon.