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In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

 

The Quickening of the Dead - Kendall Trade Rumors Rise from the Crypt

Jeff Sullivan at Fire Bavasi and Jon Wells at Grand Salami both picked up the report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Mariners eyeing Pirates' Kendall.

I'm not the least surprised to hear of Kendall trade rumors involving the Mariners. A trade for Kendall has enough surficial attractiveness to spark interest. The Mariners' recent comments indicate they are ready to give up on Davis, and Melvin's remarks last week can easily be interpreted as preparing fans for a roster move involving Davis. Meanwhile the Mariners are looking for more offense, and have ability to take on some salary. ...

Last November and December I blogged extensively about the Mariners adding Kendall. Although I initially saw merit in the deal (which at that time I posed as Cirillo for Kendall with the Pirates contributing to Kendall's salary), I ultimately concluded the length and back-loading of Kendall's contract made it a bad deal even with expected salary contributions from Pittsburgh. Kendall's contract is one of most atrocious in baseball.

My opinion has not changed. While Kendall would be an improvement at catcher, at this point in his career he is basically a singles hitter - certainly not the big bat the Mariners need. And money committed to Kendall would be money that is not available to use when a better hitter might become available.

I also don't see a way for the economics to work. Since the Pirates were not willing to pick up more than half of Kendall's salary in their talks with Pittsburgh, that's probably a reasonable estimate of how much they would be willing to contribute in a deal for Kendall. If the Pirates dkd pick up half of Kendall's salary in 2006 and 2007, the Mariners would still end up paying Kendall $5.5 million in 2006 and $6.5 million in 2007. Since Kendall right now is probably not worth more than $5 million (unless you live in an alternate universe where the Ibañez contract is a reasonable value marker), Kendall's contract is an albatross even with Pittsburgh's contribution.

Rosenthal also mentions including Jarvis in the deal. Putting Jarvis in the deal is asking Pittsburgh to take on salary. So if Jarvis were included, expect at least a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of salary contribution Pittsburgh would make.

Finally there's the issue of why Kendall would be worth a four year commitment from the Mariners, while Pudge Rodriguez wasn't?

As we have seen now with several deals (Cirillo, Guillen, Vizquel) and signings (Ibañez, Villone, Spiezio), when Bavasi gets it in his head that a specific player has to be moved or obtained, money issues become secondary to completing the deal. As we saw with Cirillo, Bavasi also does not seem capable of simply cutting a player with a big salary.

So, with the team apparently giving up on Davis and realizing that Jarvis is every bit as bad as Cirillo was, Bavasi may have shifted into his "gotta make a deal" mentality. And when Bavasi's in that mode, there's nothing that gets him more excited than a 30-year old veteran player with "good character", who is into the declining phase of his career.

Below is a list of links to posts where I discussed a Kendall deal in more detail, including salary information :
    What About Cirillo? (Nov 27)

    My Morning Rant and More Thoughts on Jason Kendall (Dec 4)

    A Final Quick Note on Kendall (Dec 5)

    Something Cooking with Kendall? (Dec 6)

    Second thoughts on Kendall (Dec 7)

 

What is the Sound of One Bat Swinging?

I've been completely swamped with work the last couple of weeks. The combination of work and finishing my review of the Mariners bullpen has left little time for blogging. As usual, the rest of the Mariners blogosphere is doing quite nicely, thank you. Time for one quick hit, though.

After three appearances, Kevin Jarvis has an ERA of 17.50. Through Tuesday's action, Jeff Cirillo was 1 for 22.

I'm waiting for Cirillo to step in against Jarvis, which would bring closure to my Deep Thoughts post from January 2 ...
In philosophy, we ponder the big questions of life: "Why do we exist?", "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?", and "Is Bavasi a warning from God to Derek Zumsteg to 'Repent or Perish'?". And the ultimate, "What happens when an unstoppable force encounters an immovable object?"

I would like to pose to my readers an equivalent conjecture. Picture, if you will, Jeff Cirillo batting against Kevin Jarvis. What would happen if a player who can't hit came up to bat against a pitcher who can't get anybody out?

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