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.