OAKLAND - Saying he's maintaining an eye on the future without waving the white flag on the 2007 season, A's general manager Billy Beane sent veteran catcher Jason Kendall and cash considerations to the Chicago Cubs on Monday for catcher Rob Bowen and minor-league pitcher Jerry Blevins.

Oakland, which now turns the everyday catching duties over to 23-year-old Kurt Suzuki, will cover part of Kendall's $13.4 million salary.

Bowen, who had been designated for assignment by the Cubs earlier Monday, will be the A's backup catcher, and Blevins will report to Double-A Midland. Bowen had just two hits in 31 at-bats in 10 games for the Cubs.

The A's 4-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night at McAfee Coliseum marked their eighth consecutive defeat, and the prospect of getting back into the playoff picture seems to become dimmer with each passing day.

The third place A's are now a season-high 12 games back of the American League West-leading Los Angeles Angels and 101/2 games back of the Cleveland Indians in the wild-card race. Seattle is second in the AL West, 21/2 games back.

"I wouldn't necessarily say it's a signal (we're concentrating on 2008)," Beane said. "I think it's an opportunity for us once again to give a guy like Kurt a chance."

Second-half surges in recent seasons have precluded the A's from becoming sellers before the July 31 trade deadline.

But with a number of key players injured -- including designated hitter Mike Piazza and closer Huston Street -- and the team's record (44-49) going south, rumors of whether the A's would unload veterans began to circulate.

"We've got quite an uphill battle if we're going to get back in this with the way the Angels and the Mariners are playing in our division," said Beane, who wouldn't rule out making other trades this month. "Add the fact that we still have some guys that are not going to be back for quite a while that are critical members of the team."

Cubs GM Jim Hendry said he was contacted by Beane and was told the A's were planning on starting Suzuki. The Cubs, who dealt Michael Barrett to the San Diego Padres on June 21, were interested in Kendall because of his experience and competitive nature.

"He's a guy we've always admired and respected. We feel he's a perfect fit for us on our second-half run," Hendry said. "His character and leadership are terrific. We feel he's still got a lot left in the tank."

Kendall, 33, who was acquired by the A's following the 2004 season, was in the final year of the six-year, $60 million deal he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 2002 season. A three-time National League All-Star with the Pirates, Kendall hit .271 with three home runs and 125 RBI in 373 games with the A's, but he was batting just .226 this season with 22 RBI in 80 games.

The 12-year veteran, though, had an immeasurable impact on the A's young pitching staff.

"The reason Jason was traded was because of how good Kurt is," A's pitcher Dan Haren said. "But as far as pitching goes, it'll be hard. I've thrown to Kendall in the three years I've been here almost every game.

"They'll be an adjustment period with Suzuki. But he's going to be here for the next few years and at some point we were going to have to learn each other, and that starts now."

Suzuki made his eighth major-league start at catcher Monday and his 11th appearance since being promoted from Triple-A Sacramento on June 10. Coming into the game, he was hitting .269 with two homers and four RBI.

"It's just a matter of getting comfortable now," Suzuki said. "The more games I play, the more comfortable I'll be. I'm looking forward to it and happy to be playing every day."

The A's announced last month that Piazza will return to catching on occasion, meaning he could also back up Suzuki when he returns from a sprained shoulder.

MediaNews staff writer Andrew Baggarly contributed to this story. Contact Curtis Pashelka at cpashelka@cctimes.com.