George Kottaras Rumors

Cardinals Claim George Kottaras

The Cardinals have claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Kottaras was recently designated for assignment by Cleveland.

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.


Indians Acquire Chris Dickerson, Designate George Kottaras

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.


Minor Moves: Kottaras, Getz, Greene

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.


Minor Moves: Hector Ambriz Accepts Outright

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.


Indians Designate George Kottaras For Assignment

The Indians have designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. With the move, an active roster space was cleared for reliever Josh Tomlin.

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.


Quick Hits: Hoyer, Morrow, Hawkins, Angels

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.

AL Notes: Davis, Kottaras, Omogrosso

Mets first baseman Ike Davis might make sense for the Yankees, Newsday's Anthony Rieber writes, suggesting that the Yankees could give up a hard-throwing reliever like Dellin Betances for him. While Mark Teixeira is out with a hamstring injury, Davis would be a good replacement for the Yankees since his left-handed power would play well in their ballpark, Rieber argues. Until the Mets deal Davis, Rieber says, they aren't maximizing his value by keeping him on the bench. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Catcher George Kottaras, who recently agreed to a minor-league deal with the Indians, will make $950K if he's on the big-league roster, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. Kottaras can also receive as much as $50K in incentives based on games played. He can opt out of the deal on April 30 if he isn't added to the roster by then. 
  • Brian Omogrosso's agency, MCA, says (via Twitter) that the pitcher is drawing interest from the YankeesRangers and Blue Jays after pitching at a showcase Friday in Arizona. The White Sox recently released Omogrosso. He appeared in 37 1/3 innings for them in the past two seasons, posting a 5.54 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9.

Indians Sign George Kottaras

The Indians have signed catcher George Kottaras, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. It's a minor-league deal, but Heyman writes that it's likely the Indians will promote Kottaras soon. Kottaras is represented by All Bases Covered.

The Cubs acquired Kottaras from the Royals in November, then released him last week after he lost their backup catcher battle to John Baker. Kottaras hit .180/.349/.370 in 126 plate appearances with the Royals last season.

The Indians currently have just two catchers on their 40-man roster, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana, and Santana is currently slated to play mostly third base. The team could option fellow third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to make room for Kottaras in the short term, although they would have to make additional moves once Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi return from injury.


NL Notes: Montreal, Phillies, Epstein, Kottaras, Braves

Baseball was back in Montreal yesterday, with the Mets and Blue Jays squaring off at old Olympic Stadium. Of course, its former occupant — the Expos — now plays its games in Washington, DC. It is good to see the ballpark filled once again with fans donning caps featuring the team's classic logo. Jared Diamond and Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal take a look at the latest on the possibility of baseball landing back in Montreal on a more permanent basis. Here are some notes from the National League:

  • The Phillies are easing into their use of analytics, as a supplement to traditional scouting writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But statistical analysis has already informed several decisions, such as the signing of Roberto Hernandez. "Our scouts and our analytics people looked at the middle-of-the-road, back-end starters," said GM Ruben Amaro Jr., "and we felt like he would be a good choice for us." Philadelphia likes his ground-ball rate and believes his sky-high HR/FB% will come back down to earth. The team also hopes to join the trend of utilizing shifts.
  • In a lengthy profile of Cubs president of baseball ops Theo Epstein, ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown writes that the 40-year-old is full of optimism about his organization's direction. One key change in Chicago has been the flow of information, which has been modernized under Epstein's direction. "The currency of the draft is information," Epstein says. "Scouting information, statistical information, makeup information, medical information. In each of those buckets, we have to drill deeper if we want to have an advantage." And while some of the strategic maneuvering to secure draft picks is now no longer possible, Epstein says that does not change the other key input in acquiring young talent. "Now you're left only with how well you can scout," he says. "It's gone from strategy and scouting to just scouting."
  • One veteran that the Cubs probably had higher hopes for is catcher George Kottaras, who was released on Wednesday. The 30-year-old has a handful of suitors, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com, and is trying to decide on the best opportunity.
  • The Braves are not only hoping to do something new with their planned ballpark, by building it in conjunction with a mixed-use development, but will buck the trend of putting new baseball parks downtown, writes Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The piece offers a nice discussion of the preliminary plans, which include designing the park's exterior in a "transparent" manner that will allow it to remain integrated into the overall development project.

Cubs Release George Kottaras

The Cubs have requested release waivers on catcher George Kottaras, reports Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). He had been picked up for cash from the Royals earlier in the offseason, and would have been owed $1.075MM for the coming season.

The 30-year-old backstop had a .180/.349/.370 line in 126 plate appearances last year. He has a lifetime mark of .214/.324/.406. For what it's worth, the Oliver projection system actually likes Kottaras to be an above-average MLB regular if he was given a full season of plate appearances.