Trade aftermath: Kendall to Cubsby Derek Carty
July 17, 2007
The trade market has been quiet lately, but with two weeks until the deadline it should be heating up soon. Yesterday marked the second time the Chicago Cubs traded their starting catcher this year. Let's look at how things should shake out.
Cubs get: C Jason Kendall
A's get: C Rob Bowen, LHP Jerry Blevins (AA)
Quick Outlook: Bowen loses value. Kendall gains value. Blevins is unaffected.
Indirectly Affected: Kurt Suzuki gains value.
After scratching the plans to have Mike Piazza catch part-time, the A's decided they didn't want to have Kendall catching full-time anymore. This will prove troublesome when Piazza returns from the DL but won't affect the catcher spot. We'll talk more about the Piazza situation in the near future. For today's purposes, Kurt Suzuki is the primary benefactor in Oakland.
One of their top prospects, Suzuki will now get most of the starts behind the plate. He has shown good skills in the minors, putting up near 90% contact rates and 13% walk rates in A+ and Double-A in 2005 and 2006. In Triple-A to start this year, he had an 80% contact and 8% walk rate. While this is based on a relatively small sample size, it certainly isn't good news. He did manage to hit 20% line drives in Triple-A.
Don't expect more than a handful of homers in the majors this year. He could grab more steals than the average catcher, although the A's might compress his SB value a bit. Minor league hitters are the toughest to project, but Suzuki might put up a .255 BA (although the potential for much better is there) with limited power and a handful of steals. Hitting at the bottom of Oakland's order might hinder his RBI and run numbers. He is a risky pickup for this year, but in certain two-catcher leagues you could do worse.
Now a part-time catcher in the American League, Bowen should have less value than he did with the Padres. He can be safely ignored in virtually all leagues. If Suzuki flounders terribly, Bowen might be worth a pickup in very deep two-catcher leagues. Jerry Blevins can essentially be ignored as he is a relief pitcher in Double-A.
What happened to Jason Kendall? He has a .226 batting average and his peripherals this year are nothing spectacular. His 89% contact rate (as per usual) is nice and his .243 BABIP should improve a little, but his walk rate has inexplicably fallen from a consistent place around 8.5% to under 4%. His line drive rate has also fallen to under 19% after being over 22% ever year since 2002 (with the exception of a 21% 2004). A move to the NL may help him out a bit.
He'll bat seventh, but without much power. His RBI numbers should be very modest. He might steal a few more bases under Lou Piniella than he did with the A's, but he will need to fix that walk rate. The walk rate will be the key if Kendall is to play like his old self again. An increased walk rate would help raise his batting average, help him score more runs, and give him more opportunities for steals. He's 33 years old, but that really shouldn't have too much effect on his patience at the plate.
While the Cubs seem to have won this trade, when we look at the big picture, they look like a bunch of clowns. They essentially traded Michael Barrett and a Double-A reliever for Jason Kendall and a Low A outfielder. I know Barrett was set to become a free agent at the end of the year, but so is Kendall, and Barrett would be a much better guy to try to retain. On a side note, the Barrett pickup by the Padres is an excellent example of the buying early strategy I talked about a few days ago in Thursday's post, "the Opportune Moment."
Derek Carty, 23, has also been published by NBC's Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and USA Today. This season, he'll be contributing to FanDuel and will be linking to all of his work at DerekCarty.com. In his three years competing in expert leagues, he has won 2 titles with 4 top three finishes, including a LABR NL title in 2009, making him the youngest person to ever win a major expert league title. Derek is a proud graduate of the MLB Scouting Bureau's Scout Development Program and is a firm believer in the importance of combining stats and scouting. He welcomes questions via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
<< Return to Article