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The Washington Nationals have reportedly signed 2B Adam Kennedy to a one-year, $1.25 M contract, with a $2.0M option for 2011.
Kennedy, 33, played with Oakland last season and hit .289/.348/.410 with 11 home runs, 6 RBI and 20 SBs.
The move signifies that Cristian Guzman will continue to play shortstop and the Nats plan on starting the season with Ian Desmond playing every day in Triple-A Syracuse.
So much for Mike Rizzo's stated goal of improving the middle infield defense this offseason. If it's possible, it could be even worse than last year.
Kennedy played 50 games at second base last season for the A's. He was a whopping -14.8 UZR/150, meaning he was almost 15 runs worse than the average second baseman in the league last season.
Kennedy was moved around a lot last season between third and second for the A's, so I'm willing to acknowledge that might have had an effect on the normally solid fielding second baseman.
I suspect, though, that age and the cumulative effect of injury might have caught up with Kennedy, leaving him a below-average fielder, especially range-wise.
Adding him to an infield with range-deficient Adam Dunn at first base and immobile Cristian Guzman at short?
Despite a small resurgence with his bat last season, Kennedy is a player that is getting old very fast, and now he's blocking a promising young player (Desmond) from getting valuable playing time in the majors while the Nats can afford to do it.
The Nationals are EXACTLY the type of team that can afford to play a 24-year old six-year minor leaguer every day in the bigs to find out what they have. They are missing a big opportunity here, choosing to go with an average-at-best journeyman over home-grown talent.