Kendall to Padres won't die

Padres trading Hernandez?

When will the talk of adding Jason Kendall to the San Diego Padres end? Why after the San Diego Padres get an All-Star catcher in Ramon Hernandez would they even consider it? When was the last time Kendall caught for a 20 game winner? <br><br> The talks will likely end when a deal is made and it appears to be imminent...but that has been said before in dead again, on again talks between the Friars and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Peter Gammons of ESPN originally reported the Jason Kendall talks have been rekindled. Ramon Hernandez and Jeff Cirillo would head east in a deal. The numbers make sense. Cirillo would be happy to go start in Pittsburgh, so talk of his no trade clause could be premature and his list of ten teams reportedly does not include Pittsburgh.

Jeff Borris, the agent for Cirillo, could not be reached for comment on the idea of Cirillo changing teams so quickly.

David Littlefield issued a, "I'll call you back" when reached during dinner last night and did not end up returning our call.

What doesn't work is the deal itself. Sure Cirillo makes an ungodly amount, but the Padres have relief with Seattle paying a nice portion. Why trade for yet another bad contract when Hernandez is reasonably priced and on the rise?

Cirillo will make approximately $14 million over the next two years, but the Padres are on the hook for a little over $9 million with a $1.25 buyout in 2006. Including the $7 million owed to Hernandez, it would push the monetary value for both players up to $20+ million over two seasons.

Kendall is due $42 million over four years. Take away the $25 million ($20+ million of two players and $5 million saved) and they would take on less money over the life of the contract, but potentially lose flexibility. The Pirates would also be far less likely to pick up any of the money they reportedly would have in the past.

The Padres would actually pay less per year over the first two years for Kendall than they would for Cirillo and Hernandez, while their commitment of years would be higher.

Kendall is a good hitter, and may even be a great hitter but he has caught almost twice as many innings as Hernandez and is approaching an age when catcher's usually begin to tank.

What happens if Kendall goes into a rapid decline? There is no room to maneuver and the Padres would be stuck. Hernandez, however, offers a ton of value with his salary and interest even if he underperforms.

The thought is to save some money in the short term and use it to sign Jay Payton, a free agent. Trading two-for-one opens up the necessary roster spot and Payton would be penciled in as the starting centerfielder. That is still a ways away as a deal has to happen first to create maneuverability this season for Payton to be added.

What happens with Terrence Long and Xavier Nady is anyone's guess if the second half comes true.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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