Howie Kendrick agrees to two-year, $7 million deal with Nationals

Veteran utility man Howie Kendrick reached an agreement with the Washington Nationals on a two-year, $7 million contract.

The Kendrick signing fulfills general manager Mike Rizzo's desire to further upgrade the team's bench. Kendrick has primarily played second base in the big leagues, but he also made 33 starts in the outfield for Washington in 2017 and provides insurance at multiple positions.

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in October, and outfielder Adam Eaton appeared in only 23 games before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in April.

In December, the Nationals signed first baseman Matt Adams to a one-year, guaranteed $4 million deal to replace Adam Lind, who had become a free agent after Washington declined his $5 million option in November.

USA Today Sports was first to report the Kendrick signing.

A former 10th-round pick of the Angels, Kendrick spent the first nine years of his big league career in Anaheim. Following the 2014 season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent two years before being dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies.

This past July, the Phillies shipped him to the Nationals in exchange for pitcher McKenzie Mills. In 91 total games with Philadelphia and Washington, Kendrick hit .315 with nine home runs and 41 RBIs.

Kendrick, 34, has taken on a utility role in recent years. Last season, he played 60 games in left field, while also appearing at second base, first base and right field. After hitting .357 as a pinch-hitter during the regular season, Kendrick went 0-for-3 as a pinch-hitter with the Nationals during the playoffs, his only postseason at-bats.

With a lifetime .291 average, Kendrick ranks 24th in batting among active players.

ESPN's Eddie Matz contributed to this story.