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Cubs Acquire Jason Kendall

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.

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YES recently reported that the proposed deal was Sean Marshall for Jason Kendall, straight up. I started cheering, as all of a sudden the Ben Sheets injury didn't look so bad for the Brewers, what with Marshall gone and Kendall with the Cubs. I still don't think Kendall is what the Cubs are looking for at catcher - I have little confidence that he will turn it around, although he will no longer be one of the worst regulars in the league - but at least they didn't give up a quality starter for him.

This can only help the cubs - none of our catchers was hitting anyways - may as well get a vet who can call better game and perhap switch back to nl will spark his bat abit.

.226/.261/.281

Nothing spectacular. But sometimes those are the moves that eventually you look back on, and say hey, that worked out pretty good. Can't fault them for getting rid of Barrett, look at the role their on.

this is a solid move for the cubs. you dont want a rookie catcher, or a backup playing behind the plate in the middle of a race. one of the best for calling a game, which will only help our rotation.

any idea who the minor league lefty is? Donnie Veal? I'm glad we didnt give up Marshall.

ESPN reported that the Cubs have a lot of money to play with...really? They said even with the ownership questions...

.226/.261/.281 for 13 million dollars, holy crap that's a terrible contract.

Blevins has some nice numbers.

my fault. jerry blevins, who is having a great season in the minors, looks to be a situational lefty

The cubs are doing a fine job of building a solid roster of bad contracts. 13 million for a cather who can't hit a lick and has one of the worst arms for a catcher in baseball is mind boggling. Atleast his contract expires after the season. Maybe they can resign him to a reasonable deal and he hits .270 next year. But that is a lot to ask out of a then 34/yr old catcher whose numbers have been on a dramatic decline over the last 5 years or so.

couple things. Ken Rosenthal says that the A's are kicking in cash.

Depending on how much, could mean that the Cubs aren't paying too much, or that they are paying a lot, and that would mean that they have the ok to pay up for the right guys. Zambrano next??

ESPN just said that Sean Marshall was traded, is that confirmed to be wrong?

Cubs got Jason Kendall for FREE (basically) Rob Bowen was sent to the A's with minor league LHP Jerry Blevin. Pirates are still paying 5 mil of kendall salary and the A's are paying the final 8 mil

Great move for the Cubs, I think Kendall will bonce back in a big way

I feel the Kendall pick up is a good thing... 1 he gives an experienced person behind the plate and 2 he COULD be a great #2 hitter... Sometimes change is good!

A low-risk, high-reward type move for the Cubs. This gives them some more experience but this makes them very easy to run on. At least they weren't stupid enough to give up Marshall.

Nice little move as we improve defense. Kendall brings zero offensively, which is what they got regardless. There isn't a team in baseball that can say, we acquired Jason Kendall and improved offensively, except for the Cubs. This is a total catch lightning in a bottle move by Hendry that he was so good at in 2003.

Here's another thought. The Cubs have struggled against lefties. Kendall hits lefties well. Last year he hit them for a.832 OPS and has generally done better against them in his career. I don't think it's out of the question for Kendall to post a .700ish OPS the rest of the year. Nothing major.

Typical attempt to buy low by Hendry.

Time will tell if it works out.

Typical attempt to buy low? If anything, I would classify Hendry as buy high and sell low.

Now to just get Kenny Lofton...

How exactly did the Cubs help themselves here? Isn't Kendall basically just an overpaid version of Henry Blanco? I mean come on, Kendall has absolutely NO plus offensive skills whatsoever. Wouldn't the Cubs have been better off to just let Blanco play since he already knows the Cubs pitchers?

Teetz
You say it's not unreasonable to expect a .700ish OPS for the rest of the season from Kendall, you do realize his OPS so far is .542? I would say it would have to be highly unlikely he improves his OPS over a 100 points in the 2nd half.

Look, this deal will depend on (1) the amount of money that gets exchanged and (2) how well Kendall can continue a recent offensive improvement. No, he can't throw out runners, and that ain't good, but is worth a shot. I think Kenny Lofton would be a terrific pick up...and please, just ship out Jones...I mean, for his sake at this point, he needs to leave.

Oh, I know this is just a crappy thought for a Cubs fan, but perhaps Wood will be back from rehab in time to be a fireballer out of the pin. Howry, Wood, Marmol, and Dempster looks pretty damn good at the back end...though Dumpster scares me at times.

The Cubs have looked simply awesome the last month, capable of beating anyone in the NL, save for the Mets when those dudes are humming (which they aren't at present). Let's see if sweet Lou can keep them on fire.

Ozzie....of course it isn't unreasonable to think Kendall to hit at a .700ish OPS the rest of the way. I never said it was likely, just not unreasonable. He obviously has the capabilities since

1.)He hit that last season

2.) He has a BABIP of .244 with a LD% of 19.7

I would say it's entirely possible to see Kendall hit around a 700ish OPS for the rest of the season.

Whoever keeps talking about money in this deal....please. There's no salary cap in baseball so this is basically monopoly money they are playing with since Kendall's deal runs out at season's end.

I'm not going to lie...I almost shed a tear when I heard it was Marshall. This is MUCH better.

This is a no lose situation for the Cubs. They don't even have to pay all of the contract, they gave up the equivalent of absolutely nothing, and Kendall will hit better than the current catching duo.

Oh, for the record, Blanco just had a setback and they don't really know what his status is. So for now, Kendall is the starter and Soto is the backup, and they are both very good defensively. I believe Soto's arm is at least average, and he will go down when Blanco is back.

By the way, Blanco can be exactly what the team needs. Great defense with a great arm....and Kendall is a GREAT pickup in between with Soto a solid backup. I'm sorry, but I really don't see how this could at all be bad for the Cubs. Money isn't an issue....and the contract runs out after this year. Not only that, but 5 mil of the contract is already paid for, and the A's are throwing in more money. So there is 8 mil left pro rated at over half of it already gone....so lets say they owe him another 3 or 3.5 mil. How can this be bad for the Cubs? Did you see the offensive numbers Bowen was putting up? I'm not saying he will be our #2 hitter, which is ridiculous, but he looks WAY better in the 8 hole than Hill or Bowen did.

Okay, in my opinion, there have been some dumb comments so far. Personally, I like this deal quite a bit. Here's why:

First off the contract. Yes, he gets paid $13MM this year. However, the Pirates paid $5.5MM of that. That leaves $7.5MM, right? So, over half of the season is gone. If the Cubs just took on all of his salary for the rest of the season, they would only owe roughly $3-3.5MM. Well, the A's sent cash with Kendall, so I'm guessing the Cubs end up paying somewhere between $2.5 and $3 million for Jason Kendall's services over the rest of the season. His 6/$60MM contract is up at the end of the year, so the Cubs owe Kendall nothing after this season -no commitment involved.

Next, everyone seems to look at Kendall's numbers for this season. Everyone seems to be forgetting that this guy is a .298 career hitter with a .375 OBP. Oh, yeah, and he calls a good game.

My overall analysis:
Jim Hendry just went out and got a catcher that could possibly make a big impact during the Cubs' playoff run. He has the ability to hit better than anyone else at his position that we currently have or could acquire via trade at this point. He's a veteran catcher that has extensive work with both veteran and young pitchers alike, and he still calls a good game. Best of all...if this doesn't work out, the Cubs paid very little for his services, they did not commit themselves to him long-term, and they gave up next to nothing for a possible impact player. With possibly limited funds heading into the trade deadline because of the pending sale, Hendry did a great job with this move. Thumbs up for the Cubs.

Kendall sucks. But if he's better than the other options you guys have then thats good. The dumping of Barrett could prove to be a great move too if they manage to resign Zambrano, which is a huge factor cause he seems to like it in Chicacgo and if it saves them 65 million than hey, good move.

don't be fooled cub fans, this is a ridiculous move for your team.....Kendall was a catcher who could draw walks and provide double-digits in HRs and SBs.....the pop and speed are gone, and he's got a grand total of 12 walks in 321 PAs this season.....add to that his 20% success rate in throwing out runners and you have yourself a pretty useless player.....or, a player with a -0.2 WARP in statty terms.....now writers will overuse the words "gritty" and "chemistry" and "presence" because there's really nothing tangible one can reference to make Kendall look worthy of playing time.....

i'd guess that the money the pirates traded to the a's stays with oakland (right?). if they are sending money to the cubs, i'd wonder if it is the money the pirates sent over this year.

How many games has Kendall played at catcher the last 2 years? I know the A's were using him as a DH quite often.

I don't think it's a slam-dunk, that Kendall can be the everyday catcher for the Cubs all of a sudden.

2006-141 games at C
2007-80 games at C, 2 at LF
(per Baseball-Reference)
Hasn't played DH except for 3 games in 2005.

scatterbrian,

Are you serious? Do you believe Bowen was a better option? Look at the numbers Bowen and Hill have put up. You don't think this is an upgrade?

Oh, and astrosfan, he will be splitting time with Blance when he returns....so you are right, he isn't the everyday catcher. I see it as a pretty even platoon. He will get the majority of the time until Henry gets back though...and I think Soto is a good backup as well.

kc_baumer,

I don't think it works like that. I think that the pirates pay that portion of the contract no matter who its with. So they haven't given Oakland all of the 5 or 5.5 million or whatever, the remaining money they owe will go with him, and Oakland no longer has anything to do with it. Now Oakland did send money, which should pay for more of Kendall's contract on TOP of what the pirates are already paying. Mix that in with the fact that the Cubs owe less than half of what remains...and I don't see how this isn't a good move. Worse case scenario, he gives them exactly what they have already been getting along with experience.

Aduncaroo,

No, I don't believe Bowen is a better option. I believe Bowen/Hill is probably an equally bad option. I also think Soto should be given an opportunity. But more importantly, I believe Barrett was a better option a merre two weeks ago....

Have you seen the cubs record since the Barrett trade? How about the Padres record when Barrett catches?

I like the guy, don't get me wrong. But he was costing the cubs games and killing them in the locker room. He fought with the Cubs Ace, leaked what happened in a PLAYERS ONLY meeting to the NATIONAL MEDIA...not to mention all the mistakes he was making, and its not like he was really even hitting that well!

Believe me....this is a no lose situation.

this is basically a no risk gamble - worst case scenerio hill/soto/bowens would give you same as kendell/soto/hill. best case kendell gets a spark hits .275 with 4-5 hr's and calls good games just in time to get hot for playoffs and get some team to give him overpaid contract - ala Jeff weaver with the cards last yr.

yes I've seen their record....they are 16-4 since the trade....neat....do you honestly believe that Barrett is the difference in those 20 games? Could it also have something to do with playing a stretch of games against the Nationals, Pirates, White Sox and Astros? Or maybe that the Cubs have been playing better than their record all season [James's Pythagorean Theorom]? Probably not, it was all Barrett's fault.

He hasn't been hitting much this year dude...and he SUCKS defensively. Kendall won't hit much worse than Barrett was for the Cubs this year...and he is much better defensively and in the clubhouse.

By the way...word is that the Cubs are only paying 1 million of the contract. 1 million!

Kendall also has the best Catcher's ERA in the league. Now here is the thing...I know that the Cubs record without Barrett isn't completely telling, or that the Padres record with Barrett catching isn't completely telling...or that the number of passed balls and wild pitches with Barrett or with someone else isn't completely telling, or that the Catcher's ERA with Barrett and without Barrett isn't completely telling...

But are you saying that none of it means anything? Again, I like Barrett, but he was hurting the team and it seems pretty obvious that the Cubs are better without him. Do you really think the Cubs would be the hottest team in baseball if Barrett was still here? I just don't think so...

When I wrote about the Bowen for Barrett trade, I titled my post "Padres pull a fast one on Cubs' Hendry". Now though, I've got to say that Hendry looks really smart for flipping Bowen back to CA for Kendall. When Kendall was traded to the A's, he was considered a top flight catcher. I haven't been following the A's closely, but he's apparently lost that reputation. A switch back to the NL might be just the ticket he needs to return to form, and Hendry didn't have to give up much. The Cubbies aren't in my pool this year, but I'm starting to wish I'd selected them!

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