Storylines: Indians sign Kottaras, finalize roster
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @ajnicholsIBI.
Here are the stories from Sunday, March 30th.
- Cleveland added Jason Giambi, Nyjer Morgan, and Scott Atchison to their 40-man roster on Sunday. To make room for the three, the Indians designated relievers Preston Guilmet, Colt Hynes, and Frank Herrmann for assignment. Giambi was then placed on the 15-day DL, along withMichael Bourn.
- Catcher George Kottaras agreed to sign a Minor League deal with the Indians. Despite not being in the immediate plans for Cleveland's 25-man roster, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Cleveland is expected to call upon Kottaras in the near future to fill a back-up catcher role. With Yan Gomes starting behind the plate and incumbent catcher Carlos Santana moving to third base while still being the back-up catcher, Kottaras could be called up to allow Santana to focus solely on third.
- The Tribe opens up their 2014 season on Monday night against the Oakland A's. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 P.M. ET, and Cleveland will send Justin Masterson to the mound to face off against young Oakland starter Sonny Gray.
Others News and Notes
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote that Jon Lester "better be willing" to accept less from the Red Sox than the six-year, $144 million offer the Tigers made to Max Scherzer. Cafardo went on to say that the negotiations between Boston and Lester will be a true test of how much the Red Sox trust and believe in their top pitching prospects.
- Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio that he had the financial go-ahead to sign both Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera to long-term extensions. Dombrowski said that both contract discussions were going on at the same time.
- The Marlins designated righty Michael Brady and outfielder Brian Bogusevic for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for starter Kevin Slowey and outfielder Reed Johnson.
- The Orioles designated lefty Mike Belfiore for assignment and placed righty Edgmer Escalona on the 60-day DL. The two moves cleared roster spots for reliever Evan Meek and outfielder/DH Delmon Young.
- Former Indian Jack Hannahan was placed on the 60-day disabled list by Cincinnati, along with pitcher Brett Marshall. The Reds also designated pitcher Pedro Beato for assignment. The three moves cleared space on the 40-man roster to add pitcher Trevor Bell, outfielder Roger Bernadina, and infielder Ramon Santiago.
- Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted that the White Sox have traded pitching prospectOmar Poveda to the Nationals for cash considerations.
Still hoping Chiz gets another (real) shot at a big league job. Has power and can hit RHP (something the Tribe struggled with last season). If optioned down would definitely like to see him get looks in RF and 1B. Still not sold on Bourn long-term and would be nice to have another OF option to plug in there.
As for Chisenhall, he's in trouble. Might have to learn to play some 1B and OF to add some versatility. But I have to believe he is optioned out in the next few days IF they are bringing up Kottaras right away. Though it is possible that Kottaras is simply minor league depth and stays at Columbus and is only called up if Santana or Gomes get hurt.
His batting average is terrible but his OBP is .324, which isn't great but consider this...that's only about 10 points lower than Bourn's career mark and only 6 points lower than Brantley's. And over the last two seasons Kottaras's OBP has been .351 and .349 as a part-time catcher. Knows how to get on base. Sure some of that may have been the benefit of where he hit but don't think his walk rate has been as good as it is simply because of where he hits in the lineup.
His career OPS against RHP is also closer to .750. Yes I know not great but better than Gomes. Not suggesting you platoon them but if you're gonna pick days to give Gomes rest...I'd choose some days when a RHP was on the mound (Gomes has to be in there everyday vs LHP if healthy). Even if Gomes is in there vs RHP...Kottaras is a guy you could DH at times. Also not a bad PH option late in the game.
Worth noting...his wRC+ the last three seasons has been 109, 113, 102...he has been an above average hitter lately.
Kottaras is a lefty bat, with a career platoon split of nearly 100 points of OPS. .750 vs. RHP and .650 vs. LHP. That makes him the ideal caddy to the right-handed hitting Gomes.
This allows the Tribe to try Santana at 3B for a month or more, and really find out if he can play there. Chisenhall will be at AAA. If Santana is a disaster at the hot corner, and can't handle the position, they can bring Chiz back, move Santana back to being the backup C and DH, and DFA Kottaras.
It's a good move, and I completely understand it, but I do feel for Lonnie. I still think it's too early to give up on him, but clearly the Indians brass don't see him being an everyday player on this team. That's a shame.