Sunday, February 20, 2005

Stark Raving Mad

Jayson Stark doesn't have too many surprises in this column. Maybe the fact that he doesn't focus on the Phillies at all is a surprise. I take issue with really only one thing, and that's the idea that Billy Beane got such a good deal in taking Kendall and getting rid of Rhodes and Redman.

Redman couldn't pitch in Oakland (7.46 ERA at home last year, 2.90 on the road), so yes, he had to move to another park. But he was pretty good with the Marlins in '03 (3.59 ERA, 14-9, 151K/61BB). He's signed for two years, and if he readusts to the NL, I wouldn't be surprised to see him turn it around and then get dealt at the deadline this year. He's owed about $8M total over the next two years, moderate for a #3 starter. I think he's a positive for the Pirates.

Rhodes was traded by the Bucs for Matt Lawton at the winter meetings. Lawton got his head right and had a pretty decent season last year. He's owed $7.5M this year, but his OPS is about the same as Kendall's (both right around .800) and he hits for more power. His contract expires at the end of this year, so he's trade bait too (maybe to ATL when Jordan gets hurt).

Kendall comes with a contract that the Pirates have tried for 3 years to get out from under. They owe him $32.5M over the next 3 years. Yes, his OBP is good for a catcher, but he's never hit for power. He's also slowed down and he doesn't steal bases like he used to. He's 30 and usually pretty healthy, but he's averaged 150 games a season for the last 5. Those games will catch up to him. And the contract is an albatross. If the young Oakland arms don't hold up, if the young hitters can't show something, if the A's are 15 games out in late July, Oakland can't trade him.

Maybe this is a trade where everyone ends up ahead, but I don't see Oakland getting anything close to a steal. In fact, I like what the Pirates have done (pared salary, got a useful arm and bat). And yes, I'm a bitter former fantasy owner of Kendall.