Monday, March 28, 2011

Royals Trade For Matt Traenor

The Royals headed into the 2011 season knowing that starting catcher Jason Kendall wasn't going oto be ready for opening day. In the interim, there have been starts and stops along his recovery, with Kendall himself suggesting that he'd be ready for opening day. That was optimistic to say the least, and given his most recent setback, that's completely off the table.

With the team in need of someone to pair with Brayan Pena, the Royals have gone out and acquired Matt Treanor from the Rangers for cash considerations. He's a former draft pick of the Royals who was traded away in 1997 for Matt Whisenant and served as a surprise starter for the Rangers last season following the trade of Jared Saltalamacchia, and the struggles of Taylor Teagarden.

While his career .621 OPS shows that the 35 year old Traenor is offensively challenged to say the least, he's further proof that offense at the catchers position is awfully hard to come by. And why playing defense alone really is enough at that position to get, and keep, a job.

What's surprising at this point is that Traenor and Kendall are essentially the same player, with Kendall's .615 OPS last year surpassing the .595 mark Traenor posted by all of 20 points. In fact, since 2007, Traenor's .631 OPS is actually BETTER than that of Kendall, who's .629 mark highlights how far he's fallen since being one of the leagues premier catchers in the late 90s.

It also serves as an ugly reminder that handing Kendall a multimillion two-year deal was probably not a wise investment given how easily replaceable his performance is.

Corey Ettinger is a Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as a proud contributor to both,, and He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Coreyettinger for the latest updates, random thoughts and general tomfoolery.

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