George Kottaras Rumors
6:55pm: GM Doug Melvin says that he is working on a trade involving Kottaras and hopes to complete it in a day or two, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel.
11:03am: The Brewers announced that they designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment. In related moves, Milwaukee activated catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the 15-day disabled list, optioned infielder Jeff Bianchi to Triple-A and selected the contract of right-hander Jim Henderson.
Kottaras, 29, figures to draw trade interest in the coming days, when teams such as the Mets and Nationals could inquire about possible deals. He has a .209/.409/.360 batting line in 116 plate appearances this year, thanks to an impressive 25% walk rate. In parts of five MLB seasons, Kottaras has a .221/.326/.402 batting line.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new Full Count video up, so let's round up the rumors...
- The chances of the Phillies trading Shane Victorino may be greater than the chances of them trading Cole Hamels. The Dodgers, Reds, and possibly the Yankees could be fits for the outfielder, who originally asked Philadelphia for a five-year extension. They're unwilling to give him a contract that long.
- The Red Sox are likely to be one of the most active teams at the trade deadline. If they keep Franklin Morales in the rotation, they're likely to seek another left-hander for the bullpen. They could also acquire a starter and shift Morales back into a relief role.
- The Braves are not as adamant about not trading their top young pitchers as they were at this time last year mostly because there are more appealing choices on the market. They're looking for consistency and could part with one of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, or Randall Delgado if they view someone like Matt Garza as a difference-maker.
- The Brewers remain more likely to sell than not, but they would still like to return to contention quickly. They could ask for big league pitching instead of prospects for Zack Greinke, plus Francisco Rodriguez figures to have value on the trade market. GM Doug Melvin is getting calls about John Axford and Jose Veras, and the trio of Randy Wolf, George Kottaras, and Shaun Marcum (if healthy) remain trade bait.
Tonight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players. Many teams will agree to terms with players before the deadline and we'll keep track of them here:
- The Orioles have agreed to terms with Dana Eveland on a one-year, $750K deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Giants have agreed to terms with Mike Fontenot on a one-year deal for 2012, avoiding arbitration, MLBTR has learned. It's a $1.05MM deal, according to the Associated Press.
- The Red Sox announced that they re-signed Matt Albers. He'll earn $1.075MM, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
- The Padres agreed to terms with Chris Denorfia on a one-year deal, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link). The deal is worth $1.165MM, according to Ronald Blum of the AP
The Pirates agreed to terms with Jason Grilli on a one-year, $1.1MM deal for 2012, MLBTR has learned.
- The Rockies agreed to terms with Kevin Slowey on a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Slowey obtains $2.75MM from the Rockies, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link). MLBTR had projected a $2.7MM salary.
- The Blue Jays agreed to sign Jeff Mathis to one-year deal that guarantees the backstop $1.5MM in 2012, MLBTR has learned. The Blue Jays have since confirmed the move.
- The Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with Jesse Litsch (one-year, $975K) and Dustin McGowan (one-year, $600K) according to a team press release.
- The Dodgers have signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year deal.
- The A's announced that they agreed to terms with Landon Powell, Daric Barton and Adam Rosales on one-year deals for 2012. The A's aren't non-tendering any arbitration eligible players this offseason. Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group hears Barton will earn $1.1MM in 2012 (Twitter link). Rosales will earn $600K and Powell will earn $620K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Marlins signed Donnie Murphy to a contract for 2012, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link). He'll earn $560K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Brewers announced that they signed George Kottaras to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. He'll earn $700K, according to Ronald Blum of the AP.
- The Astros avoided arbitration with Humberto Quintero, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1MM, according to the team. MLBTR had projected a $1.2MM salary for Quintero.
- The Angels agreed to terms with right-hander Jerome Williams on a one-year deal, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times (on Twitter). Williams agreed to sign for $820K with $120K in incentives, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter).
- Skip Schumaker is nearing a two-year deal with the Cardinals.
Obtaining catching help remains the Giants' top priority, according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). One potential target is Brewers catcher George Kottaras, who is available according to Schulman.
However, 21-year-old prospect Hector Sanchez has a .310/.375/.448 line in eight games at Triple-A since the Giants promoted him all the way from Class A earlier this month, so GM Brian Sabean does have one internal option. Eli Whiteside, who has picked up most of the playing time since Buster Posey's home plate collision, hasn't hit much. He has a .190/.278/.291 line this year and backup Chris Stewart hasn't done any better.
Kottaras, 28, has been backing up for the first place Brewers. He has a .290/.324/.516 line in 34 plate appearances in support of everyday catcher Jonathan Lucroy this year. In 396 career plate appearances, Kottaras has a .220/.306/.405 line, which compares pretty well with the average MLB catcher in 2011 (.241/.314/.379).
Aside from signing Ryan Braun through 2020, the Brewers announced a series of transactions today. Catcher George Kottaras was outrighted to Triple-A Nashville, leaving the team's 40-man roster at 38. Also, Mike McClendon was optioned, LaTroy Hawkins was reinstated, and Zack Greinke's rehab assignment will continue Sunday for the Nashville Sounds.
Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Brewers are content with catchers George Kottaras and Jonathan Lucroy, though the club may consider pursuing another backstop. Gregg Zaun has a torn labrum and may miss the entire season, so the Brewers are left with a relatively inexperienced catching tandem - the duo has a combined 69 games of big league experience. Melvin says he's "open" to improving the club, but sounds content with Kottaras and Lucroy.
"We're going to go with what we have for now," Melvin said. "We talked about whether we need more depth at Triple A, but there are no catchers really available. A few guys have gone through waivers but they're all backup types."
Those backup types - players like Paul Hoover and Paul Phillips - could be available, but they're not as appealing as an experienced big leaguer like A.J. Pierzynski. The White Sox have said they are not shopping their players yet and Melvin says he wouldn't want to meet the asking price for Pierzynski.
"I'm not sure I want to give up the players they'd be looking for to do that," Melvin said.
It will be easier to deal for Pierzynski before June 14th, when he picks up ten and five rights. Haudricourt notes that Brewers catching prospect Angel Salome has left Triple A Nashville for mental health reasons.
Gregg Zaun has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and may retire if the injury persists, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Zaun says there's a 50-50 chance he plays this season. We'll know more in two to four weeks, when doctors re-evaluate Zaun's shoulder.
The Brewers currently have catchers Jonathan Lucroy and George Kottaras on their active roster. Lucroy has appeared in two big league games and Kottaras has appeared in 67, so it would not be a surprise to see the Brewers pursue a veteran catcher. Lucroy, who is a highly-regarded prospect, made his big league debut last Friday. Baseball America said Lucroy "projects as a good offensive threat for a catcher" when they ranked him fifth among Brewers prospects before the season. Kottaras has a respectable .238/.357/.442 line in 182 big league plate appearances.
Let's check out some Brewers tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Adam McCalvy..
- An article from Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel seemed to indicate that Jim Edmonds might not want to play in 2010. However, McCalvy writes that Edmonds reiterated his desire to make the squad in Milwaukee. He adds that it would be something of a surprise if Milwaukee didn't offer the 39-year-old their final roster spot.
- In McCalvy's view, it is unlikely that Milwaukee will deal Prince Fielder mid-season. As he points out, contract negotiations would first have to fall apart before the club would even consider such a move. If they do look to move him, expect them to do so next offseason.
- McCalvy also writes that three players in camp with the Brewers can elect for free agency if they are not added to the 40-man roster: the aforementioned Edmonds, catcher Matt Treanor, and lefty Scott Schoeneweis. Treanor is battling with George Kottaras for the backup catcher position and the club may not have room for Treanor in the minor leagues. Meanwhile, in the event that Schoeneweis doesn't make the cut, he has said that he is unwilling to accept a minor league assignment.
Links for Monday...
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy posts an unofficial list of Brewers' players who are out of options. Joe Inglett and George Kottaras appear to be the players most on the bubble.
- In a mailbag, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat says that the Cubs are still looking for righthanded relief help.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince explains that Grady Sizemore's 2012 club option becomes a player option if traded. He also notes that the Indians are not in on Felipe Lopez.
- Braden Looper will not settle for a low base salary or a minor league deal, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- The Biz of Baseball now has Opening Day and year-end payroll data by team.
- Giants president Larry Baer mentioned MLBTR in a recent KNBR interview with Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert.
- Roch Kubatko of MASN believes it's possible the Orioles will trade Ty Wigginton. Wiggy has $3.5MM coming in 2010.
- Benjamin Kabak of River Ave. Blues ponders the benefits of the Yankees bringing Gary Sheffield back on a minor league deal.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs would like the Mariners to spend a few million on Jarrod Washburn, provided he'd be willing to pitch out of the bullpen when Erik Bedard is ready.
- ESPN's Tim Kurkjian explains why the Reds should sign Johnny Damon.
Some afternoon linkage...
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt tweets that "it would be a huge upset if Mark Mulder doesn't try his comeback attempt in the Brewers' spring camp."
- Meanwhile, Brewers' GM Doug Melvin said the George Kottaras pickup was all about depth, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- NPB Tracker passes along a report that says the Yankees stand to lose at least $15MM in revenue if Hideki Matsui leaves as a free agent.
- The Tigers aren't one of the teams that have expressed interest in John Smoltz, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. Yesterday we learned that at least seven teams are interested in the righthander.
- Tom Hicks is trying to put together a group of local businessmen that would allow him to maintain major ownership of the team, says ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett. The deadline to submit a bid for the team is Friday, so if you have a couple hundred million bucks burning a hole in your pocket...
- Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball reports that the Nationals have named Davey Johnson Senior Advisor to GM Mike Rizzo.
- ESPN's Howard Bryant writes about a salary cap, and how baseball doesn't need one.
- Last, but certainly not least, everyone welcome FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal to Twitter!