Once again I apologize for the lack of posts in the past week or so, but as we all can agree it is extremely busy time of year with Christmas shopping and all that goes with that.
Like me the Royals did a little bit of Christmas shopping a week ago and signed Jason Kendall to a two year deal that will pay him $2.25 mill in the first season and $3.75 mill in the second plus incentives. The Royals then non-tendered catching incumbent John Buck who within thirty hours signed with Toronto on a one year 2 million dollar deal.
Let me first evaluate Jason Kendall. Kendall is a "gritty" veteran that scouts will say possesses all the intangibles that a player should have, hopefully he will provide the team with leadership and wisdom for a still young pitching staff. The problem is that when you have to use the word hopefully when describing a player it probably means that the things you can count on aren't going to be good enough to make a difference. Personally I wouldn't mind the Kendall signing, if it came for a bargain price, but it seems that the popular opinion is that the Royals overpaid for a 35 year old veteran whose numbers have regressed significantly over the past few years.
The free agent market for catcher is weak to say the least and I am confident that had their been an opportunity to acquire a young catcher via trade then Moore would have pulled the trigger on the deal. It seems like it has become the easy thing to criticize the current administration for every deal they make, and believe me if I wanted to I could make a list of all the reasons why this deal shouldn't have been made. But what it comes down to is that the Royals wanted to obtain a better defensive catcher than John Buck or Miguel Olivo and I believe that they did that with this signing. Opinions still vary on defensive metrics but according to the latest Fielding Bible Jason Kendall is a top notch pitch blocker and defensive catcher.
While I don't think Kendall deserved the deal he got, I don't think that this is a deal that is going to prevent the Royals from spending money elsewhere. The Royals will wind up saving roughly 3 or 4 million dollars on this year's catchers (Kendall and Brayan Pena) in comparison with last year's (Olivo and Buck). Hopefully Kendall can post at least a similar slash line as last season's and he can improve a defensive unit that is lacking to say the least.