Friday, December 11, 2009

Regarding Kendall

I'm starting to get a sense that some fans like the Royals interest in Jason Kendall because they believe that anything is better than Buck. Finances aside that is simply not so. Kendall has really fell off since the middle part of this decade and while he was once one of the top catchers in baseball now he is among the worst, if not the worst (offensively speaking). Of the 22 catchers with 1500 plate appearances since 2005 Kendall ranks dead last in OPS+. He really has had a tale of two careers.

1996-2004 .306/.387/.418/108 OPS+
2005-2009 .261/.336/.321/76 OPS+

Since 2005 Buck has a line of .234/.301/.405/85 which isn't pretty but he did have a .484 slugging percentage last season along with a 103 OPS+. I don't know, given the choice between two catchers with limited offensive upside I'm going to go with the one who is six years younger and is carrying less mileage. I'm leery about the Royals releasing Buck when he might possibly be figuring things out.

 I'm also aware that part of people's desire to be rid of Buck is because of his struggles throwing runners out stealing. He threw out just 16% last season and is at 26% for his career, Kendall's numbers are 20% and 29% - not much better. (For the curious Olivo's %'s are 28 and 34. Mike Sweeney threw out 36% of the runners who attempted to steal against him. No reason to mention that other than I just wanted bring up Sweeney's name one more time.)

I guess if it was a one year deal I could probably handle it with limited criticism but two years to a 35 year old catcher with nearly 2000 games under his belt is a bit mystifying. I can't imagine why a team that isn't in win now mode would go after the veteran likes of Kendall and Scott Podsednik. For that matter I don't know why a team in win now mode would either but that's just me.

Look the Royals offense is weak and this move would make it weaker. Last season Royals catchers hit .270/.310/.504 with 31 home runs and 99 RBI's and they aren't going to match that with a Kendall/Pena combo where Kendall gets the majority of the playing time. I still like Pena and if he comes out raking and takes over the starting job then I don't mind Kendall as a backup. But lets be honest here, if Kendall signs he will start.

Of course I'm still hoping this is much ado about nothing but I have a feeling somebody will be unhappy either way.


  1. Kendall i can live with. Scotty Pods would be another story...fortunately Dutton said that was no longer likely. Hope he's right.

  2. I agree with keith...I like the kendall deal, especially from a mentoring prospect. Guys like pena and wil myers will get a lot from a catcher who has been at the top.

    Lets be honest with ourselves, the royals are a couple years away till some of DM's talent in A and AA ball get up here. Our hope at catcher is that wil myers is the real deal.

    It's easy for us to get down on DM for some of the risks he has taken and haven't panned out. But lets remember that he has completely rebuilt allard baird's mess in the minors. We need to give DM more credit, signing guys like Noel Argulles is HUGE (I still can't understand how we pulled that one off).

    Now lets just pray we don't sign scotty pods

    go royals!

  3. Myers won't have much time around Kendall. And if Kendall is here to "rub off" on Pena, then Kendall shouldn't get a majority of the playing time, which he will. It's not like Pena is a 22-year old kid. He's at the age where he needs to get a lot of playing time if he's ever to do anything. Two years at his age at that position with his decline the way it's been is too long.