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Jason Kendall's Absurd Playing Time Update

Innings caught this season:

  • Jason Kendall: 525.1 (92.4% of team total)
  • Brayan Pena: 43 (7.6%)

2010 - Jason Kendall 61 219 16 59 12 0 0 18 17 21 5 5 .269 .328 .324

No other team is doing something like this. Just looking at other situations where there is a clear #1 catcher who hasn't been injured, we see that Yadier Molina is at 84.2% and Matt Wieters is at 81.1%.

Can anyone really say that Kendall's been great defensively this season? No. Is he shutting down the running game? No, the opposite. Can anyone really argue that he's done great work with the pitching staff? Hardly. Is he hitting well? No.

I'm not trying to start a Brayan Pena crusade here. Pena isn't very good and might not even be able to handle catching defensively. (Though it's hard to say because he's only playing twice a month.) Pena isn't being blocked, so much as he's simply being underutilized.

Primarily, here are my objections to Mr. 92%:

  • From a pure baseball perspective, this doesn't make sense. Kendall isn't performing well, and he's playing a demanding position. In his last 41 games Kendall is hitting .255/.304/.317. Alex Gordon would have been ritualistically executed, twice, for such a span of games. If we assume the Royals love Kendall's game, then you'd think they'd want to take steps to get him back to his old self (which of course doesn't exist, but just roll with it).
  • Kendall is under contract for 2011 as well. Maybe you forgot that because it's absolutely terrible, but that is the case. I shudder to think what a 37 year old Kendall is going to do coming off a 150 start season in 2010.
  • More philosophically, the Royals-Kendall love affair brings back to light everything wrong about this franchise for the last twenty years. It's got a dash of late-era Baird's love of random veterans who are supposed to teach the team how to compete (and really, where would we be without the teachings of Reggie Sanders from five years ago?) and be professional and whatever else. However, it's also particularly Mooresian in it's dogged look at how effing old school we are braggadocio. Basically, Jason Kendall is Joey Gathright Part 2: all the evidence is there that nothing is actually being gained, but for the Royals the player is a powerful statement about how rightly the franchise is going about things. Never mind the numbers, it means something to another horrible GM when he looks at your roster and sees that you've got Kendall.
  • Jason Kendall just isn't good enough to dictate his playing time. I know he wants to play, because the Royals tell us that every day. But the Royals don't exist (or do they?) simply as a vehicle for 25 baseball players to get nice paychecks and playing time. And it isn't like Kendall is some beloved legend in Kansas City. He has no connection with the team or the city whatsoever. The Royals just handed Kendall everything he wanted. Why? It makes feel sick to think that I'm supposed to be a fan of the team, when really all the "team" is is a collection of random, un-related, beneficial-only-to-the-player relationships like the Kendall one.