Kendall is a .290 hitter over his 14-year career. The 35-year-old was an All-Star in 1996, 1998 and 2000 but hit just .241 with two homers and 43 RBIs last season with the Milwaukee Brewers.
He has 376 career doubles, 177 stolen bases and a .369 on-base percentage in a career that has included stops in Pittsburgh, Oakland and with the Chicago Cubs. Kendall also has been hit by 248 pitches, fifth most all-time.
He gets $2.25 million next year and $3.75 million in 2011. He can earn an additional $250,000 each season in performance bonuses.
Kansas City also signed six players to minor league deals, including left-hander Bruce Chen.
The 32-year-old Chen made 17 appearances for the Royals last season, including nine starts, going 1-6 with a 5.78 ERA. He is 36-43 since debuting with the Atlanta Braves in 1998.
Right-hander Devon Lowery, a former prospect who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, also signed a deal. Lefty Adam Bostick signed with the Royals after spending three seasons in the New York Mets system, as did first baseman Ernesto Mejia, right-hander Francisco Rosario and veteran catcher Vance Wilson.
Those six were among the 16 players invited to spring training on Friday.