The short answer to this is: "yeah, pretty much."
Paul at the Wisconsin Sports Bar notes that Kendall is "gritty," which is a fancy way of saying that he sucks but the old-school baseball media likes him for stupid reasons. Paul concludes:
Anyway, he gives everyone a "GRIT" score. Note that being gritty means that you are gritty, and that you are probably bad at baseball. Over the last 25 years, Jason Kendall has 3 of the to 12 scores. He ranks as the 3rd grittiest player of all time with a 214.62 career GRIT, or about 19.51 per year. He trails only Ron Hunt and Craig Biggio. Flotsam also calculated the list of least gritty seasons/players. They feature guys like Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, and Ernie Banks. You know, good players. In closing, Jason Kendall sucks balls, and will be a giant black hole for the Brewers all year. Or until he is replaced.
Paul is probably right for the most part. But it's important to note several things before we completely right off Kendall. The first is that Johnny Estrada sucked a lot too. The second is that maybe Kendall does "call a good game" or bring some other hard-to-measure benefits to the team. Paul doesn't think so. Or at least he doesn't think it's worth factoring in. But I find this relatively interesting. Here are the A's records and ERAs with Kendall catching:
Dan Haren 10-3 2.30 ERA
Joe Blanton 8-5 3.28 ERA
Chad Gaudin 8-3 2.88 ERA
Lenny Dinardo 3-5 2.72 ERA
Here they are after Kendall:
Dan Haren 5-6 4.15 ERA
Joe Blanton 6-5 4.89 ERA
Chad Gaudin 3-10 6.30 ERA
Lenny Dinardo 5-5 5.27 ERA
Now obviously a lot of that has to do with fatigue over a long season and "luck", but those are some pretty huge jumps. If Kendall is at all responsible for improving pitching, I'll take him.