Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just the Slickest of Moves.....

I'm absolutely sick of people saying the recent Cubs trade was any good. I hear it all over the place. Work. Home. Internet. It's really starting to piss me off. Jim Hendry is by no means a "genius" for pulling this move off. Billy Beane didn't get "robbed". "Kendall" isn't any "good" at "baseball" "anymore". And yet, Tracy Ringolsby thinks it's brilliant.

Cubs made slick move with Kendall

Snuck him right out from under Billy Beane's nose.

While the NL Central-leading Brewers were finding out that the ace of their rotation, Ben Sheets, was headed back to the disabled list for as long as six weeks, the Cubs were finding an answer to their question behind the plate, landing Jason Kendall.

The answer: Search the entire major leagues for ALL players that have 200 AB or more. Cross out Dioner Navarro's name. Now find a way to get the guy on the list with the lowest EqA of them all.

Maybe it was a coincidence, but ever since the Cubs unloaded Michael Barrett they have played like an NL Central championship team. GM Jim Hendry is looking for ways to fill the cracks in the wall, and Kendall is a major addition. With Henry Blanco on the disabled list, Kendall gives the Cubs a low-cost, veteran presence who is excellent at handling pitchers.

I want proof that Kendall is better at handling pitchers than say....Joe Mauer. Or like.....Chris Iannetta. Or Gregg Zaun. Or Brad Ausmus. This is just a claim. How does one prove that a catcher is excellent at handling pitchers? There's literally no good way to support that. You probably just looked at Kendall's stat line, remembered that he used to be pretty good, but couldn't find anything indicating that now, so just made up that he's "excellent at handling pitchers". Michael Barrett aside, I want you to convince me that there is one catcher in major league baseball better at this than another catcher. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying that some aren't better than others, I just want some proof that there's something special about Kendall. The A's pitchers are very good. Kendall wasn't the reason they were getting outs.

Kendall is low-cost. And he is a veteran. But didn't you stop to think that a guy with practically no power that has lost his patience at the plate (just 12 BB in 292 ABs this year) who has a -3 FRAA to show for his glovework might just be another one of those cracks Hendry was trying to fill?

The Cubs went into Tuesday very much on the attack, having won 16 of their last 20 games, pulling to within three games in the wild-card race and 3 1/2 games of Milwaukee.

What does this have to do with anything? If this relates at all, it's evidence AGAINST the Cubs needing to make any changes.

Yes, Kendall is in an offensive funk,

It's been disguised by Kendall's batting averages, but Kendall hasn't been an above-average offensive player since 2004. .241/.251/.187 EqA's for 2005/2006/2007. And for some fun with small sample sizes, he has a -.213 EqA with the Cubs!

but on the flip side the A's wouldn't be so willing to part with him if he wasn't hitting .226 with only two home runs and 12 RBIs.

Billy Beane is a very intelligent GM that bases his decisions on process rather than results. If there was reason for him to think Kendall would rebound, he would have held on to him DESPITE these bad stats. But how can Kendall rebound with low patience and lower power? (Rob Bowen has him trumped in both departments.) Pitchers don't have to be careful of walking him or giving up HR to him! I don't see the patience coming back, seeing as how they beat it down your throat in Oakland and less emphasis is placed on it elsewhere. He hasn't had power for years.

What the Cubs are looking to happen is for Kendall to be rejuvenated by the change.

Even if he "rejuvenates" his batting average and hits .280 the rest of the year, he's still well below average without walks and power. That would just make him less godawful.

The Cubs didn't have to cough up much. Catcher Ryan Bowen had been designated for assignment earlier in the day and lefty Jerry Blevins was a 17th-round draft choice three years ago out of the University of Dayton who recently moved up to Double-A.

I guess Ryan Bowen wasn't doing better than Kyler Hill or Harry Blanco to support the guys around him in the lineup like Mike DeRosa and Bryan Theriot.

OK, I wore that joke out last time. But people who write for sports web sites should know players' names, right?

I like how he gives "Ryan (sic) Bowen had been designated for assignment earlier in the day" as a reason for "The Cubs didn't have to cough up much". Maybe I'm the biggest Rob Bowen fan on the planet, but the Cubs reacted WAY too quickly on this one. Bowen walks a lot, and had a rough 31 ABs. It's that simple. He was sporting a .280 EqA as Bard's backup in San Diego before getting traded. All of his recent statistics have suggested that he will be at the very least an average catcher, save those of his brief Cubs stint.

Even if Hendry really didn't get "screwed" in the deal, he didn't make a good one either.


larry b said...

ryan bowen was this incredibly awkward white guy who had a 5 year or so NBA career from about 2000-2005, predominantly with the denver nuggets (the only reason i know about him). want to know what he was best known for? that's right, being gritty. being gutty. going after every loose ball. not afraid to take a charge. THAT kind of player. needless to say, he was a fan favorite.

pnoles said...

Wow....that's an even bigger miscue than I first realized then.

Ryan Bowen: gritty guy who's overrated.

Rob Bowen: Walky, low batting average guy who's underrated (even if he turns out average it proves he's underrated)

Ryan Bowen: Fan favorite in Denver

Rob Bowen: Cubs fans want to throw him under a bus.

::sniff:: The world's just....just not fair.