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7/17/2007 11:26:00 AM
Trade Analysis: Jason Kendall to Cubs
Jason Kendall had just three homers in three seasons with Oakland.
So we do have a mildly interesting interleague trade after all, with the Cubs finally finding a regular replacement for Michael Barrett by acquiring Jason Kendall from the A's. However, NL-only players shouldn't get too excited over the move, but AL-only owners will be intrigued by the aftereffects of the trade.
On the Cubs side, they get a veteran catcher in Kendall who was best known in fantasy terms for a high batting average and decent steals totals. He has neither this year, hitting just .226 with three steals. Kendall also has just two homers this year, but that's double his total from first two seasons with the A's. He's nowhere close to being the OK hitter he was during his days with the Pirates -- the .542 OPS this season says a whole lot about his fantasy value these days.
Maybe a move to Chicago could pick up his bat a tad, with Wrigley being far more hitter-friendly than Oakland, but at this point, all he'll do is give you regular at-bats with little much else. If you really want to fill a catching hole, Kendall is a workable pickup. Also, while potential catcher of the future Geovany Soto will see less time this year, he's still in the Cubs plans down the line since Kendall will be a free agent after the season.
Meanwhile, Kendall's departure in Oakland opens up a whole host of possibilities. First off, don't pick up Rob Bowen, who the Cubs sent to the A's in the deal. He was originally dealt to Chicago in the Barrett trade, and he'll be a backup at best again this time.
Instead, youngster Kurt Suzuki appears to have the inside track at the starting job at least for now. The top prospect is hitting just .241 (7-for-29) with a couple of homers in limited action. However, Mike Piazza's shadow still looms large over the whole situation. Jack Cust has played well enough to keep his DH job, although a 2-for-23 slump may change that. However, Piazza's shoulder may not be healthy enough to be the regular catcher even when he comes off the DL. In the short term, Suzuki is a decent AL-only pickup, but that situation could change whenever Piazza returns.
Other notes for Tuesday:
-- Kason Gabbard is making a strong push to stay in the Red Sox rotation after pitching a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts against the Royals. He's a good pickup if you're looking for pitching help.
-- Willy Taveras made a nice return to the lineup on Monday, stealing two bases and scoring three runs against the Pirates. A quad strain kept him limited him just before the All-Star break. Ryan Spilborghs had played well in his place, going 6-for-16 with a couple of homers in four starts while Taveras was out but is now bench-bound for now.