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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals’ World Series hero Howie Kendrick retires; Nats sign multiple players to minor league deals + more

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Catch up on the last 24 hours in Nationals news while you wait to see what Mike Rizzo does to get first base settled now that he knows Howie Kendrick definitely won’t be in the mix...

2019 World Series Game 7 - Washington Nationals v. Houston Astros Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Davey Martinez talked after Howie Kendrick’s late Game 7 home run put the Nationals up for good on the way to their World Series win in October of 2019 about the hard work Kendrick put in to make sure he was there for that opportunity after he suffered a torn Achilles in the 2018 campaign.

“He came in last year, he knew he was out for the year,” Martinez told reporters in Houston.

“This guy worked unbelievably last year to get back and then come to Spring Training.

“When he showed up at Spring Training we thought he wasn’t going to be able to do much. He played. He was ready to play from day one. He was ready to go and I had to kind of ease his way, to say, ‘Hey, look, one, you’re not a spring chicken anymore. And two, we’ve got to ease your way back. We want you for the duration of the year.’

“A testament to how hard he worked. Howie is a true professional. You see him on the field what he does, but what he does in that clubhouse with those guys is unbelievable. And you can’t replace that. You really can’t. He’s been one of the heart and souls of this team.”

Kendrick was injured again (hamstring) throughout much of the 60-game COVID campaign this past year, but he was considering coming back for what would have been the 37-year-old’s 16th big league campaign. Earlier this month he was said to have decided to give it a go for one more run, but last night he announced he was hanging up his glove or cleats or however you want to say it. Thanks for the memories, Howie. You’ll be missed.

Go read your links...

NATS BEAT:

Howie Kendrick Retires:

Howie Kendrick, Nationals’ World Series hero, retires after 15 MLB seasons - (WaPost)
“But Kendrick had considered retirement before signing to play for the Nationals last season, and he chose this time to begin the next chapter of his life.”

2019 playoff hero Kendrick calls it a career - (MLB.com)
"Kendrick became a free agent this offseason after the Nationals declined their portion of the 2021 mutual option on his contract."

Kendrick, Nats' 2019 postseason hero, announces retirement - (MASN)
"Kendrick’s game-winning grand slam home run in Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Dodgers will forever be remembered by Nats fans."

Howie Kendrick retires from MLB after 15 seasons - (Washington Times)
"With one resounding ding off the right field foul pole at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Howie Kendrick solidified his status as a Washington Nationals legend."

Nationals playoff hero Howie Kendrick announces retirement from MLB - (NBC Sports Washington)
"The 2002 10th-round pick of the Anaheim Angels played for four different teams, accumulating 1,747 hits and 127 home runs across more than 1,600 regular season games."

Nationals Add To Roster:

Nationals bring back Javy Guerra, Welington Castillo on minor league deals - (WaPost)
“In a repeat of moves from last winter, the Washington Nationals signed reliever Javy Guerra and catcher Welington Castillo to minor league deals Monday...”

Nationals sign Jefry Rodriguez to minor league deal that could mean a fresh start - (WaPost)
“The Nationals have signed Rodríguez to a minor league deal with an invite to camp, according to two people with knowledge of the agreement.”

Nats add catcher depth with Castillo (source) - (MLB.com)
"Castillo was with the Nationals in Spring Training this past year on a similar deal. He elected not to play in early July."

Nats sign Guerra and Castillo to minor league deals - (MASN)
"This is the second year in a row that Castillo has signed with the Nats in the offseason, but the backstop opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns."

Other Nats Stories:

What's in a name? Origin of 'Nationals' - (MLB.com)
"Over 160 years ago, Washington’s first professional baseball team -- the Washington Nationals Baseball Club -- was founded on Nov. 7, 1859."

Martinez liked DH in NL and shorter doubleheaders - (MASN)
"A quick way to speed up games that go into extra innings was to provide instant offense by placing a runner in scoring position to start extra innings."

Special Report: The Homestead Grays and It's Impact on Washington D.C - (The Nats Report)
"From their outstanding players to the impact they had on Washington D.C. in this Special Report, we take a look at all things about the Homestead Grays."

J.T. Realmuto, Max Scherzer and more Nationals rumors – (The Athletic)
"Are the Nationals really interested in J.T. Realmuto? Yes, the Nats have interest in the the top available catcher and many industry people have picked Washington as a landing spot that makes sense for Realmuto."

NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

Howie Kendrick, 2019 World Series hero for Nationals, retires after 15 MLB seasons - (CBSSports.com)
"Howie Kendrick, the hard-hitting infielder and author of one of the biggest home runs in World Series history, has announced his retirement..."

Jefry Rodriguez returns to Nationals on minor league deal after being non-tendered by Cleveland - (cleveland.com)
"Jefry Rodriguez is heading back to Washington after two injury-filled seasons with the Cleveland Indians."

NL EAST UPDATES:

Here's how prospects are doing in winter ball - (MLB.com)
"Daniel Brito, 2B (Phillies No. 29) - An eight-game hitting streak during which he’s batting .357 has pushed Brito’s overall slash line up to .291/.328/.468 through 22 games in Venezuela."

Mets have chance to become offseason winners in NL East - (NY Post)
"Given the perfect storm of billionaire Steve Cohen’s arrival as owner and the fact many teams are trying to cut payroll, the Mets stand to emerge as the division’s biggest offseason winner provided Sandy Alderson and new general manager Jared Porter can still deliver a significant bat and arm for the rotation."

Marlins team name origin - (MLB.com)
"The expansion Marlins went on to finish 64-98 in their inaugural season, but did you know that 'Marlins' wasn’t the first choice to be the team name?"

Atlanta Braves Players *Try* To Finish The Christmas Lyric - (Braves Youtube)
"Here the Braves players come a caroling!"