Unable to get free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, the Nationals wasted little time moving on to their next option to fortify their middle infield for the 2010 season.
The team agreed late last night to a one-year deal with former A’s second baseman Adam Kennedy, who will likely start at second base, keeping Cristian Guzman at shortstop and giving Ian Desmond more time to polish his defensive skills at Triple-A Syracuse.
Kennedy’s deal is for one year at $1.25 million, with a $2 million club option option for 2011. It came just hours after Hudson -- the team’s first choice on the free-agent middle infield market -- signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Kennedy hit .289 with 11 homers and 63 RBI for Oakland last year, also stealing 20 bases. He started 78 games at third base for the A’s and 49 at second base.
By advanced defensive metrics, Kennedy rated as a below-average fielder last year, regressing from a career of solid defensive numbers. But at a position where Washington had precious few options for an everyday starter, Kennedy at least gives them that.
He is a lifetime .277 hitter, and was the MVP of the 2002 World Series with the Los Angeles Angels.
The deal is pending a physical. Once it becomes official, the Nationals will have to remove a player from their 40-man roster to make room for Kennedy.