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November 2013

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Meet Your New Backup Catcher?

Written by , Posted in General

If you missed the news late yesterday afternoon, the Cubs made a trade with the Kansas City Royals. In a deal that was essentially the equivalent of a waiver pickup since it was player for cash, the Cubs acquired the services of George Kottaras.

He’s a former 20th round pick by the Padres in 2002 and will be 31 this upcoming season. Based on what is currently in the system, we could be looking at out backup catcher. His stats are not pretty, posting a career .214 / .324 / .406 slash line. What you do like to see is the gap between the average at the on base percentage. It’s always encouraging when you see that 100+ point difference there because you know he has the ability to judge the strike zone and draw walks.

I dug up the old John Sickels prospect handbook and found this scouting report written in 2006.

“Kottaras’ 2005 campaign was a fine follow-up to his breakout ’04 season, where he played very well in A-ball but also appeared on the international stage as a member of the Greek Olympic baseball team. Returning to the US in ’05, he continued to to develop offensively, honing his strike zone judgement while keeping his power output and batting average at strong levels. His OPS in the California League was +6 percent, but it increased to +11 percent after his promotion to Double-A. I think he projects as a .260-.285 hitter in the majors, with 10-15 homers a season and a nice on base percentage. Kottaras has a strong arm and good mobility behind the plate, although his footwork can be a problem sometimes, inhibiting his throwing. Still, his glove is good enough for him to start if he hit as expected.”

It doesn’t appear that he’s reached that ceiling, and I think Cubs fans will realize quickly how good we had it last year with Dioner Navarro as the backup catcher since he was essentially a starter filling that role. This seems like a move to fill the position with another veteran on the cheap and hope he hits well enough to be serviceable. It also gives the job to Castillo for sure.

  • Doc Raker

    Greek Town is ready to party with Kottaras, not since Milt Pappas has the Greek Islands had reason to celebrate. So Sickels was a little off on the projected Kottaras big league batting average. So does the saber world like a guy who hits 2 doubles every ten at bats plus takes 1 walk? Here’s to Kottaras adding a bunt, bloop, flare, duck snort, cattle fart or texas leaguer to every 10 at bats to make the saber world quiver. OPA!

    • They are pretty reserved when it comes to duck snorts, due to the vagaries of ducks snorts snorted into the field of play.

  • Doc Raker

    Greek Town is ready to party with Kottaras, not since Milt Pappas has the Greek Islands had reason to celebrate. So Sickels was a little off on the projected Kottaras big league batting average. So does the saber world like a guy who hits 2 doubles every ten at bats plus takes 1 walk? Here’s to Kottaras adding a bunt, bloop, flare, duck snort, cattle fart or texas leaguer to every 10 at bats to make the saber world quiver. OPA!

    • They are pretty reserved when it comes to duck snorts, due to the vagaries of ducks snorts snorted into the field of play.

  • Doug S.

    Why does it worry me when I read “I think Cubs fans will realize quickly how good we had it last year”….???

    • Chuck

      Never were more depressing words uttered…

  • Doug S.

    Why does it worry me when I read “I think Cubs fans will realize quickly how good we had it last year”….???

    • Chuck

      Never were more depressing words uttered…

  • Seymour Butts

    Joe, just how large is your closet that you have all of these old scouting reports in them? Is there room for clothing?

    • Joe Aiello

      Did I not tell you? I only wear a fig leaf. They take up little to no room in the closet. I went that route as the scouting reports began to pile up.

      • And here we were thinking we’d be bored this offseason.

      • Seymour Butts

        Get a down-quilted fig leaf out for tomorrow… rumor has it there’s a storm a comin’ out your way.

      • I’d suggest switching to digital media before you go full-Murton on us.

      • Tomas Checkosky

        …and on this Thanksgiving, I give thanks to never seeing (nor ever wanting to see) Joe only wearing a fig leaf. Eeesh!

      • Joe Aiello

        Just wait till next time I come visit.

  • Seymour Butts

    Joe, just how large is your closet that you have all of these old scouting reports in them? Is there room for clothing?

    • Joe Aiello

      Did I not tell you? I only wear a fig leaf. They take up little to no room in the closet. I went that route as the scouting reports began to pile up.

      • And here we were thinking we’d be bored this offseason.

      • Seymour Butts

        Get a down-quilted fig leaf out for tomorrow… rumor has it there’s a storm a comin’ out your way.

      • I’d suggest switching to digital media before you go full-Murton on us.

      • Tomas Checkosky

        …and on this Thanksgiving, I give thanks to never seeing (nor ever wanting to see) Joe only wearing a fig leaf. Eeesh!

      • Joe Aiello

        Just wait till next time I come visit.