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Kevin Frandsen added to Nationals TV broadcasts, replacing F.P. Santangelo

Kevin Frandsen, a former National who carved out a nine-year career as a utility player, will join the MASN broadcast booth next season as a color analyst. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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The new voice in the Washington Nationals’ television booth will have a familiar name and personality. Kevin Frandsen, who was announced as F.P. Santangelo’s replacement Thursday, played for the Nationals in 2014 and will now be alongside Bob Carpenter on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network broadcasts.

Frandsen spent the past four seasons as ananalyst for Philadelphia Phillies games on the radio. He called leaving Philadelphia and his radio partner, Scott Franzke, the hardest part of this process.

“It’s a great problem to have, right?” Frandsen said in a phone interview Thursday. “And it’s not a problem. It’s really a great situation to be in. You’re wanted and loved by two organizations and just one had an opportunity for me to do more games and be visible and create a platform to be yourself and show how much the game matters to you. For me, with the Nationals and MASN offering this opportunity, it’s the next step where I’ve always wanted to go.

“It’s not about me being on TV. But I want my passion for the game to be on TV, you know? Not only for the game but for the Nationals.”

The opening for Frandsen was created after the Nationals declined to bring back Santangelo, who had partnered with Carpenter for the past 11 seasons. Santangelo was sidelined from late April to mid-July last season after he was accused of sexual misconduct in an anonymous Instagram post. Santangelo, who denied any wrongdoing publicly, returned to the booth once a Major League Baseball investigation couldn’t corroborate the allegations.

The Baltimore Orioles have majority control of MASN, though the Nationals, as part owners of the network, get final say on who appears on their broadcasts. Frandsen, then, was decided on by both the club and network. Along with unveiling the 39-year-old on Thursday, the Nationals confirmed that Carpenter, Charlie Slowes, Dave Jageler and Dan Kolko will return to their broadcast team. Slowes and Jageler will again pair up on the radio. Kolko, listed as a “Nationals broadcaster,” appeared in a variety of roles across television and social media in 2021, the first season after he was let go by MASN and quickly hired back by the team.

This offseason, Carpenter signed on for two more years, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation. Details of Frandsen’s contract were not immediately known. The Nationals have not had a full-time in-dugout reporter since Alex Chappell was with the TV crew in 2019 and 2020. Kolko often filled that void last season, while Chappell also filled in for some games.

When Frandsen was asked about moving from radio to television, he was quick to remind that he spent a nine-year career as a utility player. In stops with the Nationals, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and Phillies, Frandsen made at least 30 appearances as a second baseman, third baseman, first baseman, left fielder and shortstop, giving him knowledge of multiple positions and the art of adjustment.

“I’m more of a winger than anything. I prep like no other because prepping for me is just watching the games. How hard is that? It’s really not that hard,” Frandsen said. “When it comes down to the nuance of it: In radio, you’re painting a picture of what’s going on. With TV, the picture is already there, and you’re giving the ‘why’ more than anything. That’s the part that I think will be an adjustment. Instead of having to describe every little detail, I can get into the cracks of everything. That will be fun. I got to get over the fact that many guys on the Phillies’ broadcast team have told me I’ve had a face for radio for a while.”

Does that mean he’ll have to shave more?

“God, I hope not!” Frandsen shot back. “If Kolko’s face can have a beard, I sure as hell can.”

This is not the first time Frandsen has needled Kolko. While with the Nationals, Frandsen made headlines when the team clinched a division title in Atlanta in 2014 and he doused Kolko, then the dugout reporter, with beer after beer.

When Kolko said some went down the wrong pipe, Frandsen shouted back: “There is no wrong pipe!” Now the two of them are co-workers.

“That was my favorite team I’ve ever been on,” Frandsen said Thursday. “It was the most fun I ever had. It was one of those things where, losing to the Giants in the playoffs, it still pisses me off to this day, because I was never part of a team that was so close. It was very college-esque, it was very early minor league-esque.”

As for switching sides in a National League East rivalry, Frandsen again pointed to how much he loves the sport, Nationals or Phillies or whatever else.

“I look at it like this: I’ve had nothing but a hell of a relationship with Bryce [Harper]. And to see what he’s done and all that stuff in the three years he’s been there … I know Nats fans probably don’t want to hear all that stuff, but the guy has been ridiculous. Just incredible,” Frandsen said. “So I’m going to tell that, and I’m not going to apologize for it because he has been special.

“My objective as a color analyst is I get who I work for. But if you have passion for the game and rivalries, we live in the past way too much. We can all agree on that. Baseball should be American’s Pastime for that reason, but I also want it to be America’s passion. I know it’s football and all that. But for me, being passionate goes hand in hand with the Phillies and Nationals rivalry. You have to embrace it, enjoy it and bring out the best in both.”