Down on the Farm – Mike Kinkade

The CCO had hoped to profile all the non-roster invitees before the Cubs started making their spring cuts but with the 20 cuts that have been made over the past two weeks, one slipped through. Mike Kinkade is the subject of this week’s profile but if you did not already hear, the Cubs cut him from the spring roster on March 13th. Kinkade was reassigned to minor league camp and the move was made after he was he was hit on the hand by a pitch from Brandon Duckworth on March 10th. X-rays showed a fracture and he is likely going to be out 4 to 6 weeks and start the season on the disabled list. Kinkade was likely not going to make the cut, as his stats were less than spectacular. He finished the spring with a .250 batting average, a .368 on-base percentage, with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s in 7 games.

Normally Kinkade plays left field, but he has also had experience in right field, first base, third base and catcher as well as a designated hitter. Since the Cubs cannot use him as a DH they will have to figure out where to play him once he has recovered. The Cubs did use Kinkade at first base and third base during spring training. He will turn 34 in a little less than two months (May 6th) so chances are he is in the twilight of his professional career.

Kinkade is not your typical player and although many people do not know much about him, he has been around for years. The Milwaukee Brewers selected him in both the 1994 and 1995 amateur drafts and he signed with Milwaukee in 1995. He stayed in the Brewers organization until they traded him in 1998 to the New York Mets. In 2000, Kinkade was part of an interesting trade with the Baltimore Orioles. Along with Melvin Mora (and two others), the Mets sent him to Baltimore in exchange for Mike Bordick. Another intriguing fact about Kinkade is that he appeared in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and helped Team USA win the gold medal. He has had some great experiences but never blossomed into a consistent major league player.

When the Cubs cut Kinkade, they did not say for certain where he would spend the 2007 season but they will likely send him to Triple-A Iowa and he will be available as insurance for the season. He has played 222 games at the major league level and has a .256 career batting average, .350 on-base percentage, 13 home runs and 48 RBI’s. Unfortunately, he has not played in the majors since 2003 when he was in the Dodgers organization. In the last three seasons, he has played for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, the Buffalo Bisons (the Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate), and the Albuquerque Isotopes (the Florida Marlins Triple A affiliate). Kinkade had a good year at Triple-A last year, while with Albuquerque, batting .328, with a .405 OBP but he displayed little power as he ended with only 4 home runs and 50 RBI’s.

Even though he has had a long career and has some decent major league experience, Kinkade is not likely to figure into the Cubs long-term plans. He may even move on to yet another organization after this season. He had some bad luck during the spring and it could hurt him this season. Breaking your hand can slow many of the best players so one that has struggled in his career will have even more trouble.

I respect Kinkade and the talent he has shown in the past including some moments of greatness. Unfortunately, 2007 may not be the best year of Mike Kinkade’s career. I do wish him luck on whatever he has left. He has lived a dream to play professional baseball and hopefully the dream is not almost over.

Mike Kinkade’s Baseball Cube page

Coming Next: Down on the Farm – Felix Pie

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax