The Cubs made a deal tonight, sending catcher Rob Bowen and pitcher Jerry Blevins to the Athletics for Jason Kendall and cash. (ESPN keeps saying it was Sean Marshall going to Oakland, which is silly and not true).
Kendall had a respectable .758 OPS in June, but his bat has been anemic otherwise. But as signified by the questionable Michael Barrett trade, the Cubs are looking for defense at catcher. (Incidentally, Jim Hendry acquired Barrett from Beane in December of ’03 for Damian Miller). Kendall can certainly handle the pitching staff. And it wouldn’t be shocking to see him hit a little bit back in the NL; he rarely strikes out and knows how to draw a walk.
The Cubs didn’t give up much here. Bowen is a backup at best. Blevins, a southpaw reliever, will turn 24 in September. He’s been dominant in 53 innings between High A and Double A, but he’s not anyone’s idea of a top prospect. I like the move for the Cubs. As for Oakland, it gives them a chance to try Kurt Suzuki full-time for a few months as an audition for 2008.