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Nats sign Adam Kennedy

Feb 5, 2010, 1:11 PM EDT

[UPDATE AT 9:32 A.M.: Kennedy will make $1.25 million this year, with a $2 million option for 2011.]

Losers to the Twins in the Orlando Hudson sweepstakes, the Nationals wasted little time enacting their backup plan. Washington came to terms late last night with veteran second baseman Adam Kennedy on a one-year contract, club sources confirmed this morning.

Kennedy, 34, who hit .289 with 11 homers and 63 RBI last season for the Athletics, still must pass a physical before the deal is completed. Terms aren't immediately known, but it won't match the $5 million contract Hudson received from Minnesota.

Kennedy's signing sets in motion a chain of events that will affect several Washington infielders. Cristian Guzman will remain at shortstop in the end, this after the club initially told the veteran he might be asked to move to second base this season. Ian Desmond, who impressed some team officials during his big-league debut last September, now is likely to open 2010 at Class AAA Syracuse, where he'll be asked to refine his skills in an attempt to display more consistency.

Once the signing is official, the Nats also will need to remove someone from their 40-man roster.

A veteran of 11 big-league seasons with the Angels, Cardinals and A's, Kennedy is a career .277 hitter. After tailing off in 2007-08 in St. Louis, he enjoyed a bounce-back season in Oakland, producing his Read more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    I am excited this gives Ian Desmond another year to mature and reduce his enormous number of K's. We can bring Ian up in June and give him some Melvin Mora like duties in OF, 2B and SS maybe 2 days a week. The 2011 middle infield combo of Espinosa and Desmond will be good.

  2. NatsGirl - Feb 5, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    That Nats have been in dire need of a second baseman since, well, forever. Do you think adding Kennedy is a sign of good things to come? Perhaps the beginning of a Camelot-esque era for the Washington team?

  3. natbiscuit - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    An excellent sign. The right guy at the right time. I hope the team makes him feel as welcome as they had tried to do for Hudson. If he bats behind Morgan vs. right handers he will be every bit as effective as Morgan had hoped Hudson would be. Alas, both Morgan and Kennedy struggle more against left handers. I'm not sure what the solution might be there. Maybe Guzman, maybe Dukes batting second against lefties.

  4. thenatsreport - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Not a fan of this. Tell me how 6 more months in AAA is going to magically teach Ian consistency? He's 24 (I think). It's sink or swim time. Platoon him with Kennedy. But that won't happen. He'll be in Syracuse, and when we need him, the knock on his consistency will not have changed. At this stage, you are what you are.

  5. NatsGirl - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    natsreport: I tend to agree with you–if he hasn't learned it by now, you're not going to. They say Wily Mo couldn't hit a curve ball because he didn't spend enough time in the minors, though, and the old adage does say that practice makes perfect. At what point does a team know that a player just isn't going to get any better, no matter how long they stick him in Syracuse? Bergmann's a good example–he's up and down all the time. Is he going to improve or has he reached his peak? When do you know?

  6. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    I would have matched Orlando Hudson offer, which he was willing to do. This team needs defense and the guy is a gold glover and we wanted to be here (because he was willing to let the Nats match the offer).They will both hit similar, but this team need more defense, we let one slip away here.Now, he is need one more starting pitcher, has Washburn signed anywhere yet? The Nats need one more start who can be counted on for 180 innings.

  7. JMW4th - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Mark – any truth to the rumor that Hudson wanted the Nats to formally agree to not offer him Arbitration if he became a Type A FA? and that the Nats were not willing to, but the Twins were?

  8. JMW4th - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Washburn.absolutely not. He's a product of Safeco. do.not. want.

  9. Sasskuash - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I'm not sure who is the better defender between Kennedy and Hudson, but I'm a little tired of hearing that "ORLANDO HUDSON WON THE GOLD GLOVE!! HE MUST BE AMAZING!!" The Gold Glove and silver slugger voting process is ridiculous and rarely chooses the best candidate. If it did, David Wright would not have any GGs. It occasionally does work- Ryan Zimmerman absolutely earned it this season. But Orlando Hudson's defensive fancy stats were not very good last year. I didn't see him play enough to judge him any other way, but I think he won the GG based on name recognition and little more. If he was really THAT good, his own coach would have played him over Ronnie Belliard in the playoffs.Good luck Kennedy and Go Nats!

  10. Dave Nichols - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    disappointed. all this does is block a promising young player from gaining valuable experience in the majors. the Nats aren't going to contend, they are exactly the type of team that should be playing 24-year old 6-year minor leaguers to find out if they are a major league player or not. and, the MI defense could be even worse than last year.

  11. JayB - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    That is not possible unless you put a 24 year old who averages over 35 errors a year at SS. He is not ready until he proves he can make a routine play 99% of the time. Rizzo is not going to risk his reputation putting Ian D at SS until he is ready…I see him trading him at his High when he puts up some good AAA numbers. Danny E is the SS that Rizzo can live with not Ian D.

  12. Wally - Feb 5, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    I have concerns with Kennedy's remaining D skills, but this was a good signing. The money is minimal with a club option for next year. He can back up all three IF positions too. And you can make an argument that 2009 was the aberration defensively (meaning that he is still above average) – I am not saying that I am making that argument, just that it is a potential upside. Better signing than O-Dog's deal with Minny, I think. As for Desmond, normally I agree with the theory that you are what you are going to be by 24, especially with 6 seasons of pro ball behind you. However, his problems with routine plays seem to be more about focus, footwork and repetition – doesn't that seem like something that can be improved upon at this stage? Maybe not likely, but possible? Particularly if the carrot of a big league gig is hanging there, right in front of him? Bigger concern that I have for him is, does his hitting hold up? He had a very high BABIP last year.I think that Desmond gets his shot this year, unless he collapses, but I think that it was a smart thing for Rizzo to ease him into it with a vet to start out the year.

  13. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 5, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Obviously this signing is being met with mixed reaction. Seems like those who are opposed feel that way either because: 1) they wish the Nats had spent more to land Hudson, or 2) they think either guy would block Desmond from playing time.My take: The Nats needed to improve their defense up the middle. Kennedy, while perhaps not as good as Hudson, is still better than what they had at 2B last year. There's no telling what Guzman at 2B would have been like.Also, even if Desmond doesn't make the club on Opening Day, he'll surely wind up in the majors at some point this season. If he's successful at Class AAA and Guzman is at all shaky at the plate or in the field, I wouldn't be shocked if Desmond winds up the starting SS in D.C. sometime this summer.

  14. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 5, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Also, I've got a new poll up and running: Who do you think should bat second in the Nats' lineup as it currently stands? Choices are…1. Guzman2. Kennedy3. Dukes4. Other

  15. Sasskuash - Feb 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Mark- Will the Nats still give Guzman some ST work at 2B? Looking at both Guzman's and Kennedy's batting splits against RHP vs. LHP, they could make a good 2B platoon if Desmond does get the nod at SS at some point. If Guzman can be versatile, it helps both the Nats with more depth at both positions and Guzman entering FA after this season.

  16. Farid - Feb 5, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    I don't think this will hurt Desmond in the long run. He was flashy but inconsistent in the field. Let him play half a season at Syracuase knowing that the job is his once he gains said consistency.Once Danny Espinosa makes it to the majors, Desmond can move to second and the team will have two very talented, very young middle infielders for many years.Farid

  17. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    Ian Desmond is simply not consistant enough at the plate or in the field to be a major league starter at this point… some people seem to be taking the position that at 24, "you are what you are," and that may be true… but if that is true, all it means is that he's never really going to be an every day player. I want him to succeed as much as anyone else but last year was his FIRST really good season in the minors. Every season prior to last ranged between mediocre and disasterous. Another half season in the minors might not make him better, but it certainly won't make him worse.

  18. natsfan1a - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    I'm not an armchair GM type, but I'm okay with the signing.

  19. natsfan1a - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    Yes! Finally got a post through. Stupid browser… :-)

  20. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Congrats on finally getting through, natsfan1a. Still can't figure out why it wasn't letting you comment the last four days. Welcome to the party, though. We'll consider you fashionably late.

  21. natsfan1a - Feb 5, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks, I think it must have been a setting on my other browser. I *do* like to make an entrance. :-)

  22. NattyLite - Feb 5, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    guzie is great 2 hole guy. he has great bat control, switch hitter, makes contact for hit and run (which i want to see much more). i am expecting many crooked numbers on the board with tplush guzie zim dunn hammer…goooooosebumps

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