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George Kottaras Rumors
The Blue Jays announced that they have outrighted catcher George Kottaras off the 40-man roster and officially announced the outrights of Munenori Kawasaki and Dan Johnson, both of which were made known earlier in the week.
Kottaras, 31, batted a strong .233/.351/.533 with three homers in 38 plate appearances between the Indians, Cardinals and Blue Jays this season. Two of those homers came as a member of the Indians in his first game of the season.
The journeyman catcher has always shown plus plate discipline and plus power but low batting averages, as evidenced by his .215/.326/.411 career batting line. Kottaras has struck out in 23.7 percent of his career plate appearances, but that number has jumped to 35.3 percent over the past two seasons (164 PA). Defensively speaking, he’s thrown out just 18 percent of opposing base-stealers in his career, and pitch-framing metrics haven’t been kind to him.
Kottaras and Johnson have both elected free agency, per the Blue Jays, while Kawasaki has yet to do so. Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star tweets that Kawasaki will likely do the same thing that he did last offseason: seek a Major League deal elsewhere but return to the Blue Jays as a minor league free agent if he is unable to find one.
We’ll track today’s minor moves here.
- The Pirates have outrighted infielder Dean Anna to Triple-A Indianapolis, according to the International League transactions page. Since being claimed by the Bucs in early July, the 27-year-old Anna has batted just .186/.368/.302 in 57 plate appearances. Overall, he has just a .601 OPS at the Triple-A level this season, and he didn’t fare any better in the bigs with New York, posting a .518 OPS in 25 plate appearances. Anna excelled with a .331/.410/.482 batting line with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate in 2013, however, indicating that there’s some upside in his bat.
- The Blue Jays have signed catcher George Kottaras and sent him to Triple-A Buffalo, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports. The Cardinals released Kottaras last month after they acquired A.J. Pierzynski. He’s a lifetime .216/.326/.414 hitter in parts of seven seasons with the Red Sox, Brewers, Athletics, Royals, Indians and Cardinals.
- The Brewers have acquired pitcher Jay Jackson from the Pirates for cash considerations, Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel tweets. Jackson, 26, has posted a 4.89 ERA in 84 2/3 innings as a swingman with Triple-A Indianapolis, but with 9.2 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. He has also pitched in the Cubs and Marlins systems. He’s recently won praise for his stuff, with Pirates Triple-A catcher Tony Sanchez suggesting Jackson has the potential to be a good big-league reliever.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Lefty Joe Saunders has been released, the Royals announced on Twitter. Saunders opted out of his minor league deal, reports Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com (Twitter link). The 33-year-old lefty will presumably now look for his fourth organization of the year.
- The Cardinals have released catcher George Kottaras after designating him for assignment to create room for the addition of A.J. Pierzynski, reports Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com (via Twitter). Kottaras, 31, saw just six plate appearances for the Cardinals but owns a .269/.375/.615 slash on the year through just 33 plate appearances.
- Twins reliever Matt Guerrier has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, but will elect free agency rather than accepting the assignment, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Guerrier could hold appeal to contenders as a depth piece, particularly on a minor league deal. The veteran righty has produced a solid 3.86 ERA in 28 innings, but has struck out just 3.9 batters per nine.
Kottaras collected only six plate appearances for the Cardinals, who claimed him from the Indians July 11. For the season, Kottaras only has 33 plate appearances, hitting three homers in that span. He’s hit .216/.326/.414 in parts of seven seasons in the big leagues.
It’s not surprising to see St. Louis pursuing catching depth after yesterday’s news that Yadier Molina will miss the next eight to 12 weeks in order to have a torn ligament in his thumb surgically repaired. The 31-year-old Kottaras has long been known to have an excellent eye at the plate and some power. The career .216/.326/.415 hitter has 14 percent walk rate in 847 Major League plate appearances, and his .199 isolated power mark (slugging minus batting average) is well above-average for any hitter, let alone a catcher.
This, of course, doesn’t preclude the Cardinals from pursuing further upgrades behind the dish as the summer wears on. For the time being, however, he should be able to provide a solid OBP if the Redbirds prefer him to one of Tony Cruz or Audry Perez, neither of whom offers much with the bat.
The Indians announced that they have acquired outfielder Chris Dickerson from the Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Dickerson’s contract will be selected for tonight’s game, and George Kottaras has been designated for assignment to create roster space.
The 32-year-old Dickerson has a spotty Major League track record, but he was having an excellent season for Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pirates organization. In 280 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .309/.407/.479 with seven homers and 12 steals.
Dickerson grades out as an excellent defender at all three outfield spots, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved — an attribute that likely appealed to Cleveland with Michael Bourn on the shelf for the next three to four weeks due to a hamstring strain. That glove has come along with a questionable bat for much of his career, however, as he’s batted just .233/.275/.361 over his past four stints in the Majors — a span of 287 plate appearances. Dickerson did have a strong start to his big league career with the Reds, however, hitting .283/.383/.440 through his first 421 PA in 2008-09.
The 31-year-old Kottaras has a strong .286/.385/.714 batting line for the Indians this season, though it’s come in a sample of just 27 PA. Nearly all of his production came in his first game with Cleveland, when he went 2-for-3 with a pair of homers. Nonetheless, Kottaras has long been known to have an excellent eye at the plate and some power. The career .216/.326/.415 hitter has 14 percent walk rate in 847 Major League plate appearances, and his .199 isolated power mark (slugging minus batting average) is well above-average for any hitter, let alone a catcher.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- Indians catcher George Kottaras has accepted his assignment to Triple-A, the club announced. He had the right to elect free agency, but will instead stay with the Cleveland organization.
- Second baseman Chris Getz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, according to a tweet from the Blue Jays‘ top affiliate announcing his activation (hat tip to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm). The 30-year-old has played in over 450 MLB games in parts of seven seasons, but saw action in just ten contests this year for Toronto before being cleared from the 40-man. Getz will pick back up in the upper minors with a .309/.382/.338 triple-slash (with 6 stolen bases) through 76 plate appearances.
- The Braves have signed outfielder Justin Greene to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. Greene, a 28-year-old career farmhand, reached the Triple-A level with the White Sox organization in 2011 and 2012, but managed only a .244/.310/.395 line in 301 plate appearances there. Greene had a solid season for the Diamondbacks’ Double-A affiliate last year (.308/.377/.413 with 31 stolen bases), but was off to a rough .174/.245/.239 start in his first 102 trips to the plate in 2014.
- As reflected in MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, Carlos Marmol (Marlins) is the only player currently in DFA limbo. George Kottaras (Indians) is still deciding whether or not to accept his outright assignment.
Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB:
- The Reds have released pitcher Nick Schmidt, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. The 28-year-old lefty pitched 14 1/3 innings for Triple-A Louisville, posting a 7.53 ERA with 11 strikeouts and ten walks. He had previously pitched in the Padres and Rockies systems.
- The Indians have released pitcher Brett Brach, who had been at Triple-A Columbus, Cotillo tweets. Brach, the brother of Orioles pitcher Brad Brach, was a 10th-round pick in 2009. He spent most of the 2013 season with Double-A Akron.
- Cotillo also notes that the Mariners have released pitcher Jonathan Arias, who had made eight relief appearances for Triple-A Tacoma. He had a 9.82 ERA there, striking out ten batters and walking seven in 14 2/3 innings. Arias, 26, had posted very good strikeout numbers at several previous minor-league stops, however.
- Right-hander Hector Ambriz has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A by the Padres, tweets MLBDailyDish.com’s Chris Cotillo. Ambriz, who was designated for assignment Thursday, could have refused the assignment and elected free agency.
- Infielder Josh Wilson has cleared waivers, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Wilson, who was designated for assignment by the Rangers Thursday, now has 72 hours to accept an outright assignment or elect free agency.
- Catcher George Kottaras has cleared waivers, tweets CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. Kottaras was designated for assignment by the Indians Tuesday and now has 72 hours to accept an outright assignment or elect free agency. The 30-year-old saw only four plate appearances during his brief stint with the Indians, but he was productive smashing a pair of solo home runs and drawing one walk.
- There are four players currently in DFA limbo, per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker: Buddy Boshers (Angels), Maikel Cleto, (White Sox), Carlos Marmol (Marlins), and Chris Getz (Blue Jays).
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The 30-year-old Kottaras saw only four plate appearances during his brief stint with the Tribe, though he delivered two home runs and drew a walk in that time. Kottaras caught on in Cleveland with a minor league deal after being released by the Cubs late in the spring. (He had been picked up by Chicago from the Royals via trade, but lost the backup battle.) Kottaras has drawn attention in the past for his ability to get on base (.355 OBP since 2012), and could appeal to some other clubs around the league.
A strong young pitching arm has long been the most valuable commodity in baseball, but as ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only column, some executives are beginning to put a greater premium on young hitters. Position players may rate higher due to defensive value, not to mention that big bats are becoming a rarer commodity as scoring declines around the game.
Here are some news and notes from around the baseball world…
- The Cubs are widely expected to be sellers at the trade deadline but GM Jed Hoyer told reporters (including CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney) that trade talks are currently “non-existent” and things won’t get serious for at least a few more weeks. “I certainly talk to a lot of GMs on a daily or weekly basis,” Hoyer said. “But having a GM call about a specific player? I’m not even sure I fielded one of those yet. Really, that trade talk always dies right at the end of spring training.”
- The Blue Jays have shifted Brandon Morrow to the 60-day disabled list, the team announced to reporters, including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (Twitter links). The right index finger injury that put Morrow on the 15-day DL earlier today was revealed to be a torn tendon sheath, and if the injury isn’t healed by July, Morrow will have to undergo season-ending surgery. This looks to be the third time in as many years that Morrow has suffered an injury that cost him at least two months of the season.
- LaTroy Hawkins‘ presence could’ve greatly helped solve the Mets‘ bullpen issues, which is why Andy Martino of the New York Daily News opines that the team isn’t serious about contending. Hawkins signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with the Rockies, a modest contact that Martino feels the Mets should’ve and could’ve easily topped in order to shore up their bullpen’s questionable depth.
- The Angels‘ struggling bullpen could get a boost from the farm system very soon, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes. GM Jerry Dipoto said that Double-A right-handers R.J. Alvarez and Cam Bedrosian could both be “a phone call away. They’re doing it against high-level professional hitters. I feel like both can help sooner rather than later.”
- Indians catcher George Kottaras is likely to be designated for assignment once Yan Gomes returns from the paternity list, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Kottaras was just called up today by the Tribe to take Gomes’ place, but he is out of options. The 30-year-old catcher signed a minor league deal with the Tribe in late March.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Mike Petriello identifies three early weaknesses plaguing the Cardinals, Dodgers and Tigers in 2014.
- Ten well-known names ranging from Major League veterans to retired NBA star Tracy McGrady are active in the independent leagues, Zachary Levine writes for FOXSports.com in a brief review of these ten players’ career situations.
- Giving minor league starting prospects Major League experience as relievers and eventually working them into the rotation is a strategy popularized by Earl Weaver’s Orioles in the 1970’s, and this idea has been one of the cornerstones of the Cardinals‘ success over the last decade, Peter Gammons writes in his latest column for GammonsDaily.com.