Washington Nationals Sign Adam Kennedy To Play Second In DC.

Just hours after learning they'd been spurned by free agent infielder Orlando Hudson, who opted for a one-year/$5 million dollar deal with Minnesota, the Washington Nationals announced that they had agreed on a deal with former Cardinals, Angels and A's second baseman Adam Kennedy. The 34-year-old Kennedy told San Francisco Chronicle writer Susan Slusser in an article on Wednesday entitled, "Brett Tomko is throwing again, looking for deal", that his decision on where to sign was, "...on hold until Orlando Hudson decides where he's going."

"Something should happen when he figures it out," Kennedy told the Chronicle's Ms. Slusser, and it wasn't long after FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) sent a message out via his Twitter feed announcing the official terms of Orlando Hudson's deal with the Twins that MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) sent this Tweet to his followers:

"I just received word that the #Nats have agreed to terms with free agent 2B Adam Kennedy."

The Kennedy signing, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson's follow-up article entitled, "Nationals bringing Kennedy to Washington", means that DC SS Cristian Guzman will remain on the left side of second instead of moving over from short to make room in the infield for Ian Desmond, who was thought by some to be ready for a full-time role in the Majors. All winter, however, it's been reported that there was a faction in the DC Front Office who didn't think Desmond was quite ready defensively to be the Nationals' everyday shortstop, and as long as Guzman's fully-recovered from the shoulder surgery he underwent after the '09 season ended, it appears Desmond's destined for Syracuse to start the twenty-ten campaign.

Adam Kennedy earned $4M last season in the final year of a three-year deal that the veteran infielder signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. The Cards released the then-33-year-old infielder in February of '09 after he'd hit just .253 with a .300 OBP, .364 SLG, 36 doubles, 6 triples, 6 HR's and 70 RBI's in two seasons in St. Louis, and he signed a minor league deal with Tampa Bay less than a week later. When Kennedy failed to make the Rays' roster out of Spring Training, he was dealt to Oakland for a PTBNL and ended up playing in 129 games with the A's, over which he hit .289 with a .348 OBP, .410 SLG, (.758) OPS, 29 doubles, 11 HR's and 62 RBI's.

In over 1200 major league games, Kennedy's posted a .983 FLD% as a second baseman, but last year in Oakland his fielding percentage at second dropped to .967 (from .981 in '08), as he committed 7 errors in 50 games in which he earned a brutal (-14.8) UZR/150, and playing third for the first time in his career, Kennedy made 13 errors in 82 games, with a .941 FLD% and a (-11.4) UZR/150. Kennedy was identified as a target by the Nationals in early January as the first hints of his fellow free agent Orlando Hudson's demands became apparent, and a few weeks later, Kennedy told MLB.com's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Hudson: Nationals still in mix", that he'd been paying close, "...attention to what everyone is doing this offseason,":

"'The Nationals have made some good moves. I know [manager] Jim Riggleman a little bit. I would definitely be interested in something like that.'"

So with the addition of Adam Kennedy, and barring any unforseen changes, (like Guzman possibly struggling to return from the aforementioned shoulder surgery), the DC Faithful are looking at a Ryan Zimmerman, Cristian Guzman, Adam Kennedy and Adam Dunn infield in 2010...with Josh Willingham in left (if he avoids getting traded), Nyjer Morgan in center and Elijah Dukes in right field. Kennedy's spent the majority of his career hitting at the bottom of the batting order, so at this point, one can probably project an Opening day lineup (again barring any unforseen changes) that will look something like:

  1. Nyjer Morgan - CF
  2. Cristian Guzman - SS
  3. Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
  4. Adam Dunn - 1B
  5. Josh Willingham - LF
  6. Elijah Dukes - RF
  7. Pudge Rodriguez - C
  8. Adam Kennedy - 2B
Is this lineup winning the NL East? Will it be more competitive? Can the Nationals avoid another 100-loss season? Was Adam Kennedy's poor fielding last season a sign of decline? Is there any chance of an Ian Desmond and Adam Kennedy double play combination? Did DC GM Mike Rizzo do the right thing?
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