The predominant starters behind the plate for the Brewers since 2005 all have something in common: They are all in the their mid to late 30’s and in the extreme tail-ends of their careers. Damian Miller, incumbent starter from 2005 to 2007, retired after his Brewer tenure. Jason Kendall started in 2008 and 2009, and really should have retired, but the ever-fantastic Royals management wanted to give him another contract. The newest elder to join their ranks is Gregg Zaun, and at 39 years of age cannot have too much gas left in the tank.
Although Miller was a pretty good defensive catcher, Zaun is at best a mediocre guy behind the plate, with Kendall owning an absolutely abysmal throwing arm in his time as a Brewer.
Offensively, only Miller had the above average season in 2005. He was sub-par or pretty bad in 2006 and 2007, followed by 2 awful offensive seasons by Kendall. 2008 saw Jason Kendall post a .241 batting average and a .636 OPS. Yikes.
Although the season is young, Zaun has been beyond abysmal at the plate in his short, 12-game Brewer tenure. He is a paltry 5 for 35, with a .184 on-base percentage. Gregg may be adding some “veteran leadership” to the young club, for whatever it’s worth, but that type of play is miles from acceptable.
Even worse, all this below average production is from catchers in the twilight of their careers, they are also paying above average costs for it. No upside or possible improvements can be expected from any of them, only a steady decline in all categories. They signed Zaun for a 2 million dollar deal this off-season. They paid Kendall 4.5 million in 2008 as well, so they aren’t even bargain-bin shopping.
Overpaying for that type of production doesn’t exactly bode well for a team with their modest budget. If they plan on giving Prince Fielder than big deal he desires, they don’t need to be shrewed in other areas, they just need to not over-pay in other places, like below average catchers…