The Nationals have officially signed of second baseman Adam Kennedy to a one-year deal after the veteran passed his physical today.
Kennedy, 34, hit .289 with 11 homers and 63 RBI last season for the Athletics. Over an 11-year career with the Angels, Cardinals and A's, he owns a .277 average, not to mention a World Series ring and ALCS MVP trophy (both from 2002 with Anaheim). The veteran infielder will earn $1.25 million this year; the contract also includes a club option for 2011 worth $2 million.
Kennedy thus becomes the Nats' new starting second baseman, filling a position that was staffed by seven different players in 2009: Ronnie Belliard, Anderson Hernandez, Alberto Gonzalez, Pete Orr, Willie Harris, Ian Desmond and Alex Cintron. He's likely to be joined up the middle by shortstop Cristian Guzman, though Guzman must prove he's fully healthy after battling shoulder and foot injuries last season. Desmond would be the club's other option at shortstop.
Washington moved quickly to agree to terms with Kennedy last Friday after losing out to the Twins for two-time All-Star second baseman Orlando Hudson. The Nationals, according to club sources, offered Hudson between $3 million and $4 million; he wound up signing with Minnesota for $5 million.
Before formally signing Kennedy, the Nats were required to remove someone else from their 40-man roster. They won't announce the name of that player for another couple of days, because he's been placed on waivers and the club hopes he'll pass through without getting claimed. Either the mystery player will go unclaimed and be outrighted to Class AAA or Class AA, another team will pick him up and be required to keep him on their 40-man roster or GM Mike Rizzo will trade him to an interested club.