San Francisco Giants: Potential free-agent targets to improve infield depth
Howie Kendrick signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Washington Nationals in 2018, and he posted a 132 OPS+ in 530 plate appearances over the life of that deal.
The 35-year-old still is relatively versatile, spending time at first base, second base, and third base in 2019.
Kendrick also has experience at both corner outfield positions, but he did not play an inning in the outfield in 2019. In 2018, he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, so that could have been a factor in the lack of playing time out there.
The former Los Angeles Dodger still knows how to hit. Despite his age, Kendrick remains a middle-of-the-order, right-handed bat who recorded a .340/.395/.572 line in 370 plate appearances in 2019. That included a 1.036 OPS against left-handed pitching across 126 plate appearances. He has the type of skill set to work as a platoon hitter, or to assume a larger workload in the case of injuries or regression from other players.
Given his versatility and quality bat, it would not be difficult for the Giants to get him in the lineup. He could fill in at first base against a left-handed pitcher, or work out at second base, thereby moving Dubon to shortstop to give Crawford a break. Similarly, he has experience at either corner outfield spot, if the Giants wanted to stack their lineup with right-handed hitters.
Kendrick just seems like the type of player that smart baseball teams covet. Every team he plays on is either in the playoff hunt, or expected to make a deep playoff run. When teams want to improve their roster, Kendrick is the type of player they look to add.
Like Kendrick, Ben Zobrist is on the older side, but he remains a solid, versatile option if he continues his playing career.