It's reportedly happened. All that remains is the passing of the physical.
Jason Kendall is an Oakland Athletic.
But don't think that the moves have ended. Don't start saying this is the only move that our esteemed GM has up his puffy sleeves. The man is a magician, so I wouldn't say that it is over yet.
I know there has been a lot of debate about whether or not this is a good deal, but the bottom line is that I like it a lot. For several reasons.
Mark Redman became extra parts for the A's heading into this year, thanks to the maturation of Joe Blanton and the presence of Justin Duchscherer. Blanton is likely ready to join the A's rotation, and even if he isn't the A's have Justin Duchscherer who is very capable of putting up at least Mark Redman's numbers as a number five starter.
The A's needed to jettison Rhodes' mistake of a contract. He was useless to the A's having failed miserably as a closer. We already have our LOOGY in Rincon. Rhodes had essentially become the same style pitcher, with less effective results in 2004.
Not to mention, the A's had around seven million earmarked for those two in 2005. Yes, we could've done something like sign Blanco or Zaun, but Kendall is one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. He certainly isn't a home run hitter, but neither was Kotsay when he came over.
I also like what this does to the top of the lineup. Kotsay can slide down to the two-hole in the lineup because Kendall has experience leading off. He did it in Pittsburgh and his .399 OBP shows that he has the patience at the plate to score a lot of runs. Kotsay can then slide into a position where he has openly stated that he feels more comfortable, hitting second.
That does make the lineup lefty-heavy from two through four (if Durazo slides into the four-hole), but it also affords Kotsay more RBI opportunities, at least in theory. And the A's need someone to drive in those people on base.
The money could be a problem, I agree, but the A's budget has increased over the past few seasons. Billy Beane is always thinking three steps ahead as well, so there may be other moves coming.
Hatteberg might still be traded to save on payroll. Durazo might not be resigned. Beane may decide on taking a chance on Street as our closer for 2005, letting Dotel go.
It's a mantra that I've often repeated on AN, but reserve judgment about the payroll until we know what Beane has up his sleeve. In Billy We Trust.
Today, the A's are better on paper than they were yesterday. That's what we should concern ourselves with for now.