“Most fun I've ever had in my career, and I've been struggling.”
The King of the Nerds is back to discuss the recent season-ending career of Jason Kendall and its implications for the rest of the Royals.
For those of you that do not know, Jason has suffered a rotator cuff tear and will require surgery in order to fix it. He will be out 8-10 months in recovery. He injured his arm on July 17th while sliding into 2nd base in Oakland. He said it felt fine, so he continued to play until a check swing completely tore the rotator cuff in Cleveland. Even then he played, having to push his arm up when he swung.
To replace Kendall, Ned Yost will split the playing time between backup catcher Brayan Pena and recently called up Lucas Mays. This will be a good time for the future catchers to get some major league exposure. Pena has the power to belt out 10-15 homeruns a year, which is all you need from a catcher. I haven’t seen too much from Mays, but his Omaha stats say that he can be productive for this organization.
Kendall has been absolutely atrocious in the number 2 batting spot this season, which is the only problem I have with Ned Yost. He continuously put a .200 hitter in the second batting spot, which almost always neutralizes any momentum that the leadoff hitter may have gained. With Kendall gone, this opens up the two spot to be filled by someone who is continually productive. Here is the lineup I would use if I was Ned Yost.
- Blanco CF
- Gordon LF
- Butler DH
- Ka’aihue 1B
- Betemit 3B
- Maier RF
- Pena C
- Aviles 2B
- Bentancourt SS
This lineup won’t happen much as Yost will want to test out some of the minor leaguers such as Fields and Mays. Gordon can be good in the two hole, as he has returned to being productive, and his label as “bust” is slowly fading away.
Few players have the dedication that Kendall has, but you have to wonder if he should have drawn the line earlier when he first felt pain in his arm. At this stage in his career he should not have pushed himself until he injured himself, possibly ending his career. Although if this is the end for Kendall, he can still mentor the younger catchers, and will make a hell of a coach someday. Maybe this injury is what he needed, because he never would have retired on his own.
If he is indeed done, the Royals should sign him as a coach, because he has a great baseball mind, and would be a great addition to Yost’s coaching staff.
Even though Kendall has given us a lackluster season, his dedication and leadership helped the youngsters on the team grow into the players they are supposed to be. Many of you are glad that he is hurt, but I can bet that if Kendall had the say, he would still be starting.