11/30/2004: Gem o'the Day:
Dan (of Get Up, Baby! fame) also gets the nod for "Gem o'the Day" honors today for this:
I'm sure you're all totally shocked, but our NL Central neighbors have traded a star-quality player for a group of aging, average players who won't be around for the next great Pirate team. This time it was Jason Kendall, who I think was most surprised when the reports came out that he hadn't been traded some time three years ago, as he had previously thought.
Kendall, who is basically Ichiro! with a catcher's mask, was in all likelihood the best catcher in baseball last year. He's 31, as durable as any catcher in baseball, and did I mention that his OBP in 2004 was 50 points higher than Tony Womack's, and 70 points higher than Edgar Renteria's? And he's a catcher?
The Pirates haven't worked very hard to get full value for Kendall, though. Instead of parading him around as a Proven Veteran with Scrappy Hustle and Clubhouse Spirit who also happens to be a leadoff-hitting catcher, he's been villified for taking up something like a third of the Pirates' payroll. That's not hard to do when your payroll consists of the loose change from under the leather seats in your owner's Hummer Limo; he'd have been a highly paid but high performing player on most clubs, like say the CARDINALS, where he'd be an eight of the team's salary. Not exactly a great sales pitch made by the Pirates, who would do well to maybe hire a used-car salesman or two to shore up their deals. ("He was the designated catcher for a little old lady who only threw to him at church softball practice every sunday! I'm just craaazy to get rid of him like this!")
Len on 11.30.04 @ 10:34 AM CST