In my random and relatively small sampling of Cub fans, I have found a mixed reaction to the Kendall deal. The reaction has been mostly positive, but not by all. There are Cub fans out there that wanted to see what Geovany Soto could do. To those people I say, be patient. If Soto is that good, he’ll be back, maybe even by the end of the season. Joe warned that Hank White’s herniated disk may be a season ender, and I cant help but think that this move might be related to the fact that Blanco’s rehab was just delayed due to “unrelated” shoulder pain.
There are others who have the attitude that you “don’t fix, what ain’t broke”. With the Cubs playing well, why would anyone mess with the chemistry of the team? To them I say: Despite how well we play against the Nats, Astros, Rockies, and White Sox, none of those teams will be in the playoffs. There are others who think that we gave away a good prospect on an old rent-a-player. To those people I say: You gotta break a few eggs to make a cake.
Personally, here is how I feel about the Kendall move. Adding a role player with a great work ethic and a team first attitude can only be good for the Cubs. It is a move that I think will have an immediate positive impact. This is not a blockbuster earth-shattering move by any means, but it adds another piece to the puzzle for the Cubs. They are obviously pretty good RIGHT NOW. Does adding guys that will show up every day with hard hat and lunch pail in hand, make them better? Most definitely, and Kendall is that type of guy. A Chicago type of guy.
It was obvious that whatever change the Cubs made at catcher, all they needed for an upgrade was someone who could bat .220+ and provide a decent backstop to the pitching staff. They have done so much better than that. Kendall is more than just an improvement. He is a good catcher, a great handler of the pitching staff, and a pretty good defender. This is a guy that you know who is not only solid, but has the potential to be really good at times. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes for a guy to feel rejuvenated. A stretch run with a contender may put a little fire back in his belly. All reports say that Kendall is enthusiastic about the deal and excited to be in Chicago. From his early days as a Pirate, Kendall was tough, gritty, and dependable. We all know that he is on the downward side of his 12-year career, but he still carries a good fielding percentage, decent batting average, and fair on-base percentage. Also, don’t forget that he has been to the post season before and gives the Cubs a little veteran leadership. Which was something that the Cubs were supposedly missing at the beginning of the season.
Think big picture people. Kendall is just a small piece of the puzzle that is slowly but surely coming together.