Yesterday, the Oakland A's began to retool for 2008. Free-agent-to-be catcher Jason Kendall was dealt to the Cubs for recently designated-for-assignment catcher Rob Bowen and AA lefty reliever Jerry Blevins. Bowen is a 26-year-old switch-hitting catcher who can take a walk with 17 free passes in 113 ABs this season and 13 in 94 last year. He also has a modicum of pop with 11 XBHs in 2007 and 8 last season. As a switch-hitter with those additional skills he could be a back-up catcher for years to come.
Jerry Blevins is having a breakout season after struggling through three minor league levels in 2005. He posted a 6.13 ERA in 39 2/3 relief innings with 36 Ks against 50 hits and 13 walks between A-, A and AA ball. In 2006, he began in the Florida State League and was promoted to AA Tennessee. Overall, he has thrown 53 innings with a 1.02 ERA. That excellent ERA is accompanied by 69 Ks, 36 hits and 13 walks.
Given the impending free agency of Jason Kendall and his struggles at the plate this season, the A's did well in adding their back-up catcher for 2008 and a second lefty that would permit Alan Embree to pitch to more than the late-inning lefty hitter.
Today's San Francisco Chronicle reports this may be just the beginning. With Daric Barton's bat ready and his defense limiting him to 1B/DH, current 1B Dan Johnson and/or rehabbing DH Mike Piazza could be next. The paper also reports a rumor of
With Billy Beane in selling mode, the next two weeks just got more interesting.