Baseball Prospectus likes the Kendall deal and once again sings Billy Beane's praises (from Chris Kahrl's Transaction Analysis):
I think it's important to note what this deal's basic motivation is, which is an exchange of expensive mistakes. Don't get me wrong, acquiring Kendall for two lefties who'd become about as desirable to possess as a Creed album makes for a pretty nice swap for a team that needed a catcher.
It goes on...
It's easy to say Beane got himself off the hook here, since he had reason to regret signing both Redman and Rhodes. But he's also had reason to regret signing Scott Hatteberg or Terrence Long to multi-year deals; he found a taker for Long, as he indeed seems able to find a buyer for the back-ends of all sorts of odious deals. There's an artistry to it, of course, but it depends on the existence of marks to be taken. Even with some of the GMs who've been recycled of late, that isn't so easy to do when you're known and feared (or respected, or resented). On that level, getting Kendall's that much more impressive, but keep in mind, the Pirates aren't your ordinary desperately-overstretched team.
Joe Sheehan also likes the deal:
The key for the A's is that the trade largely only costs them money, and not all that much of it. Kendall will make $34 million over the next three seasons; he'll likely account for between 15% and 20% of the A's payroll in that time. Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes' contracts are worth $21 million in 2005 and 2006, and according the Associated Press, the A's will send a million bucks a year over to help pay for them. In '07, the Pirates send the A's about $5 million to cover the last year's of Kendall's deal.
Net it all out, and the A's win the talent portion of the deal handily at a cost of about $4 million a year for the next two seasons, and $8 million in 2007. That's a nice trade for a player who will give them a real OBP boost at the top of the lineup and at a position where it's hard to find offense.
While it's not a huge surprise that the BP boys like a Beane trade, it is affirmation (in opinion at least) of what many, including myself, have said since the deal.
We're a better team now than we were two weeks ago.