Indians Sign Casey Kotchman

The Indians announced that they have signed Casey Kotchman to a one-year contract. Casey Close of Excel Sports Management represents the first baseman, who will earn $3MM in 2012.

Kotchman signed a minor league deal with the Rays about a year ago, and posted an unexpectedly strong .306/.378/.422 line in 563 plate appearances. Kotchman, who turns 29 this month, is a ground ball hitter who had 36 extra base hits in 2011. UZR suggests he is an above-average defensive first baseman. He ranked 36th on MLBTR's list of top 50 free agents entering the offseason.

The right-handed hitting Matt LaPorta and the switch-hitting Carlos Santana had been projected to share time at first base in Cleveland this year. Kotchman, who bats from the left side, now figures to get most plate appearances against right-handers and Santana may still see time at first against left-handers.

Corner infielder/outfielder Shelley Duncan is out of options, while Laporta has options remaining, according to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. This could play into the team's decision process between now and Opening Day. The Indians acquired another first base option, Russ Canzler, earlier this week. 

The first base market has settled in recent weeks, with Kotchman, Carlos Pena and Prince Fielder all finding new teams. Derrek Lee is one remaining free agent first base option, but it's unclear whether he'll play in 2012.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first tweeted news of the agreement, with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adding the terms of the deal (Twitter links).


53 Responses to Indians Sign Casey Kotchman Leave a Reply

  1. mike melusky 3 years ago

    Orioles could have really used him…

  2. JacksTigers 3 years ago

    Look out Fielder. Look out Hosmer. Look out Konerko. There’s a new sheriff in the AL Central.

  3. Encarnacion's Parrot 3 years ago

    Poor Matt LaPorta. You know you’re bad when..

    • Lastings 3 years ago

      And to think, he was the staple of that Sabathia trade… Looks like it, may be all up to Brantley now to make something of that trade…

    • Lastings 3 years ago

      And to think, he was the staple of that Sabathia trade… Looks like it, may be all up to Brantley now to make something of that trade…

    • Popular_mechanics_for_pitchers 3 years ago

      Your bad

  4. Shawn Ryu 3 years ago

    Good move if he came cheap, he was impressive with the Rays last season.

  5. Largebill 3 years ago

    He batted an empty .300, only 11 homers. Waste of money to sign a free agent who isn’t an upgrade over what we’ve got.

    • johnsilver 3 years ago

      Sad but true.. A super spray/line drive hitter when he was at his best.

    • dpm21 3 years ago

      Not an upgrade? Last time I checked a .300 BA is much better then LaPortas poor BA and defense. Platoon Kotchman with Santana and Canzler and first is dangerous.

    • $7562574 3 years ago

      kotch will provide top notch defense and respectable offensive numbers. he is also one of the best persons in mlb.

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      Pretty sure Kotchman is an upgrade over LaPorta.

    • bigpat 3 years ago

      Sadly he is a decent upgrade over LaPorta unless he finally delivers on all of that potential he was supposed to have.

    • Yankees420 3 years ago

      I don’t see how the batting average is “empty” considering his OBP was .70 points higher (8.5% walk rate).  Now, taking exception with a 1B that can only hit 11 HRs, I can get on board with.

  6. johnsilver 3 years ago

    oops….

  7. alan104 3 years ago

    The Indians signed a really decent player. Solid defense with some occasional pop. I hope Casey has a great year, just not against the Rays.

  8. $7562574 3 years ago

    good luck, kotch. from an angels fan who always were rooting for you.

  9. Ill take his glove, and he is better than Laporta, but the Indians needed a bigger bat.

    • TSR3000 3 years ago

      Not necessarily.  A lot of IFs but if we stay healthy, we have a decent lineup.

      • dpm21 3 years ago

        ya that’s our biggest problem. So many variables in our lineup

      • dpm21 3 years ago

        ya that’s our biggest problem. So many variables in our lineup

    • TSR3000 3 years ago

      Not necessarily.  A lot of IFs but if we stay healthy, we have a decent lineup.

  10. CardsEagles1489 3 years ago

    Game changing stuff right here folks..

  11. CardsEagles1489 3 years ago

    Game changing stuff right here folks..

  12. leachim2 3 years ago

    And Juan Rivera is making more than Casey Kotchman.

  13. leachim2 3 years ago

    And Juan Rivera is making more than Casey Kotchman.

  14. theroundsquare 3 years ago

    I suppose he’s planning on that high BABIP continuing based on a lot of ground balls getting through the Tigers infield.

  15. MrSativa 3 years ago

    Great sign. Cleveland infield just got a lot stronger plus his bat I do believe is back. What Kotchman realized last year he had a bacterial virus from Lazik surgery that impaired his vision – last year was simply a year where he could see the ball again and getting his confidence back.

    He’ll make it tough to platoon. LaPorta needs to step up his game. He’s close to being replaced – totally.

  16. If Casey Kotchman stays healthy, this could be a big steal…could Matt LaPorta be a trade chip down the line? Kotchman is not yet 30.

  17. $5427573 3 years ago

    He may lack power, but his is a great pickup.  Not the typical 1B of the AL, but that doesn’t make him any less valuable.  e.g.. I’d take 306/378 over 251/295 any year (I’m look at you Lind), it just means he should bat early in the lineup.

  18. I wish the A’s woulda got this guy

    • Iconoclast17 3 years ago

      I did too. We’re in for yet another year of watching Derek Barton twoll for walks/watch called third strikes with men on base, and the annual Chris Carter charade at 1B/DH. Maybe Kila will pleasantly surprise but don’t hold your breath. Can Damon play first?

  19. Great! another lefty!! what the heck lol. thats all we have!

  20. I agree it was a Nice signing, but explain how he’s underrated.

  21. johnsilver 3 years ago

    Probably a freak comeback season after several years as a superb glove only guy…

    NOW.. If he can duplicate his nice year with the Rays.. He might be able to get a fair contract next year, but he has no pwer still. Just even when he was a top 1B with Anaheim was a spray hitter who got on base, not what teams look for from a 1B. Even the best (IMO) defensive one presently playing in the game.

  22. Well, I would call him underrated defensively or he had an underrated season. Not really an underrated player.

  23. $5427573 3 years ago

    If he’s a consistent 300/378 hitter 3M is an absolute steal no matter what position he plays.

  24. Yankees420 3 years ago

    Got it. I knew Kotchman had a high BABIP and was unlikely to repeat his ’11 numbers, but with the info you provided the OBP he produced in ’11 does seem hollow as described.

  25. all the A’s options at first suck. Barton, is still recovering and whats to say he’ll ever get back to his one decent year.  the other unproven clowns are 1b/outfield/dh types.  Kotchman would be a great pickup

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