Royals sign catcher Jason Kendall to two-year deal

The Royals’ legwork during the Winter Meetings paid off on Friday when they signed free-agent catcher Jason Kendall to a two-year contract.

Kendall, 35, is expected to take over as the Royals’ primary catcher following the departure of Miguel Olivo into the free-agent pool.

A 14-year Major Leaguer, the right-handed batter has a career average of .290 in 1,967 games. He’s not a power hitter – 75 homers – but has an on-base percentage of .369. Earlier in his career, he often batted in the leadoff spot, unusual for a catcher, and has 177 stolen bases.

The Royals went into the meetings at Indianapolis last Monday checking the market for a catcher, a center fielder, a left-handed starter and bullpen help but the signing of Kendall is the first tangible result.

They also were linked to catchers Ivan Rodriguez, who signed a two-year deal with the Washington Nationals, along with Jose Molina and Rod Barajas.

–Dick Kaegel

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