Casey Kotchman Rumors

Marlins Release Casey Kotchman

The Marlins announced that they have activated Casey Kotchman from the disabled list and released him.

The 30-year-old Kotchman signed a minor league deal with the Marlins this offseason but appeared in only six games for the Fish before hitting the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Upon being activated from the 60-day DL in June, he suffered an oblique strain that has kept him on the shelf since.

Kotchman went hitless (0-for-20) in his six games with the Marlins but is a career .260/.326/.385 hitter in parts of 10 seasons with the Angels, Braves, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Mariners and Marlins.


Marlins To Designate Wade LeBlanc For Assignment

The Marlins will designate left-hander Wade LeBlanc for assignment tomorrow and will recall left-hander Edgar Olmos from Double-A Jacksonville, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. In a separate tweet, Frisaro reports Casey Kotchman will be activated from the 60-day disabled list tomorrow, so LeBlanc's assignment will keep the Marlins roster at 39 because Olmos is currently on the 40-man.

LeBlanc, today's winning pitcher as the Marlins swept the Mets, has appeared in 13 games (seven starts) for the Marlins this year and has compiled a 5.18 ERA with rates of 5.7 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and 11.7 H/9 in 48 2/3 innings. For his career, the 28-year-old has a 4.49 ERA, 6.1 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9.

Olmos, the Marlins' third-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft, has pitched parts of the last two seasons in Double-A and has been very effective with a line of 1.00 ERA, 6.6 K/9, and 5.2 BB/9 in 28 games (45 innings). This year, the 23-year-old has posted similarly solid numbers: 1.27 ERA, 6.4 K/9, and 3.2 BB/9 in 19 games covering 28 1/3 innings.    


Article XX(B) Free Agents Update: Tuesday

Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.

Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.

MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:

  • Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
  • Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
  • Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.

Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).  



Marlins Sign Casey Kotchman

The Marlins announced that they have signed Casey Kotchman to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp.  Kotchman is represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management.

Kotchman, who turns 30 next Friday, hit .229/.280/.333 with 12 homers in 142 games for the Indians last season.  Things have been quiet for Kotchman this offseason but he reportedly drew some interest from the Red Sox earlier this winter.


AL East Notes: Jeter, Morse, Red Sox, Duquette

The Yankees could have another tricky negotiation with Derek Jeter on the horizon, writes Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.  Jeter is entering the last guaranteed year of his current deal and he holds a 2014 player option worth $9.5MM ($8MM in base salary plus $1.5MM that Jeter has thus far earned in incentives).  If Jeter comes back from offseason ankle surgery and continues to hit well, the Yankee icon will surely be looking for a longer commitment beyond 2014.  Knowing the Yankees' stance on extensions, however, I'd expect the team to not discuss another deal with Jeter until after the 2014 season, when Jeter will be 40 years old and the Bombers will have a better idea if their captain is worth another multiyear contract.

Here are the latest items from around the AL East…

  • The Yankees have "nothing alive" with the Nationals in regards to a deal for Michael Morse, reports Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog (Twitter link).  New York was one of several teams interested in Morse, who has been on the trade block since the Nats re-signed Adam LaRoche.
  • In an interview on WEEI radio's Hot Stove Show (partial transcription from WEEI.com's Kirk Minihane), Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that there is no news about the team and Mike Napoli.  The Sox are continuing to talk with Napoli while also exploring other options at first base.
  • Speaking of those first base options, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox "have explored" signing Casey Kotchman and Nick Johnson and also checked in with the Mariners about a trade for Justin Smoak.
  • The Orioles are looking for pitching depth as they head into Spring Training, executive VP Dan Duquette tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli.  Though the O's haven't made any major transactions this winter, Duquette believes his team has improved itself, though he did vaguely mention a few deals that didn't happen.  "We looked around the industry for that middle-of-the-order bat," Duquette said. "There was one free agent that was a significant player. There have been some other players available in a trade that I'm not sure they were better than what we had, and the cost of the acquisition has been a little pricey for us."

Red Sox Links: Haren, Victorino, First Base

The Red Sox handed out their second three-year, $39MM contract of the Winter Meetings today when they signed Shane Victorino. Here are some more links pertaining to the team…

  • Boston made a "competitive" offer to Dan Haren before he signed with the Nationals, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.
  • Victorino's contract "vaults to the top of the rankings of the worst contracts signed so far this offseason" in the mind of ESPN's Keith Law (Insider req'd). Law writes that with a .244/.311/.391 line in his last 1388 plate appearances versus right-handed pitching, Victorino can be considered a platoon outfielder but still got paid like a starting player.
  • The Red Sox still need someone to back-up Mike Napoli at first base, writes Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. While names like Carlos Pena and Casey Kotchman are on the market, general manager Ben Cherington would prefer the backup to be someone who can play multiple positions.

Quick Hits: Payrolls, Orioles, De La Rosa, Red Sox

On this day in 1988, the Padres traded Rich Gossage and Ray Hayward to the Cubs for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland.  Here's a look at today's links..

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that the Yankees and Red Sox are no longer alone as financial superpowers. Sherman also looks at five offseason market trends that will impact the 2012 season and beyond.
  • In analyzing the Orioles' collection of non-roster invitees and the 40-man roster decisions they'll face this Spring, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes that Baltimore would eat a portion of Kevin Gregg's $5.8MM salary to trade him. Kubatko also speculates that an out of options player like Pedro Strop could be moved during Spring Training.
  • Free agent Scott Kazmir is set to throw for scouts in Houston on Wednesday, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
  • Jorge De La Rosa will undoubtedly exercise his $11MM player option for 2013 as he rehabs from elbow surgery, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.  If he does that, the Rockies receive a $11MM club option for 2014.
  • Red Sox officials seem to think they’ll know what they’ll be getting from the Cubs “before the official start of spring training,’’ but it's not clear if that refers to when pitchers and catchers report or when the full squad arrives, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe
  • If Magglio Ordoñez doesn't find a big-league job this season, he will have his own professional baseball club waiting for him in his native Venezuela, writes Robert Downs of the Detroit Free Press.  The slugger is set purchase shares in the Caribes de Anzoátegui when he retires.
  • The Indians and Casey Kotchman never talked about anything but a one-year deal, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  The first baseman signed with the Tribe for $3MM earlier this month.

Indians Notes: Kotchman, LaPorta, Cabrera

The Indians made one of their most significant moves of the offseason yesterday signing Casey Kotchman to a one-year, $3MM contract. GM Chris Antonetti explained the deal this morning and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Jordan Bastian of MLB.com have the details:

  • Antonetti said the Indians are still working to create 40-man roster space for Kotchman, Hoynes tweets. The Indians were in on Kotchman last offseason, Bastian tweets.
  • Matt LaPorta will have the chance to win the first base job in Spring Training, but the Indians intend for him to play every day, Hoynes tweets. Bastian suggests LaPorta, who has options remaining, will likely open the season in Triple-A (Twitter link).
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is in Cleveland and the team is discussing a multiyear deal with the shortstop, Antonetti said, according to Hoynes. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes examined a possible extension for Cabrera about a month ago, suggesting that a four-year, $27MM contract could work for both sides. Cabrera asked for $5.2MM through arbitration and the Indians offered $3.75MM.

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).


Orioles Have Discussed Casey Kotchman

The Orioles have discussed free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  The soon-to-be 29-year-old hit .306/.378/.422 for the Rays in 563 plate appearances last season.

Kotchman has been linked to the Indians and Rays this offseason though Tampa Bay might not be in the mix any longer after re-signing Carlos Pena.  By signing Kotchman, the O's could make Chris Davis the primary DH and use Wilson Betemit as more of a utility player and part-time DH.