11/26 Cubs acquire Kottaras

Dioner Navarro posted career numbers last season as the Cubs backup catcher, but he is now a free agent and the team decided to go a different direction, and acquired George Kottaras from the Royals for a cash consideration on Tuesday. Kottaras, 30, was the Royals’ backup catcher last season after he was claimed off waivers from the Athletics in January. He started 29 games and hit .180 with four doubles, five home runs and 12 RBIs. Kottaras’ .349 on-base percentage was sixth-highest among American League catchers.

Navarro batted .300 in 89 games with the Cubs, hitting a career-high 13 home runs and driving in 23 runs, as a backup to Welington Castillo, who will be the team’s starter again in 2014.

Kottaras, a left-handed hitter, was designated for assignment by the Royals on Friday. He has batted .214 with 40 doubles, three triples, 29 home runs and 96 RBIs in 295 Major League games with the Red Sox (2008-09), Brewers (2010-12), Athletics (2012) and Royals (2013). In 2012, Kottaras tied his career mark with nine home runs between the Brewers and Athletics, including six in 27 games for the Athletics following a July 29 trade. In his final full season with Milwaukee in 2011, he hit for the cycle, Sept. 3 at Houston, becoming the third catcher to do so in the live ball era.

– Carrie Muskat

13 Comments

WHAT are they thinking? This is absolutely bizarre! Week after week, month after month they complain about lack of offense and this guy is an improvement over Navarro??? In my opinion, Navarro is a really good keeper in every way. As Kenly Cub says, is there something we are missing here?

Does not even have as good of numbers as Koyie Hill, who also is available. Maybe the front office knows something the lines dont show.

They are just looking for a backup Catcher, cheap. Just one year, what’s the big deal?

Keeping Navarro was not an option, people. Rumor has it that several other teams, including the Twins, are looking at Navarro to possibly be their starting catcher next year. The Cubs seem committed to Welington Castillo as their starting catcher. It would not make sense for the Cubs to pay their backup catcher starter money (which is what it would take to keep Navarro), nor would it make sense for Navarro to return to the Cubs as a backup (which is what Navarro would be if he was on the 2014 Cubs). The market for a backup catcher is thin this year and there was no one at AAA ready to get bumped up, so the Cubs’ options were rather limited. And Kottaras does have a good OPB and a little power, which is good enough for someone who will probably only play once a week. So everyone please just chill and enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

Doug,i sure would hate to know Kottaras was the everyday catcher if Castillo hits the DL which happened a couple of times last year. I know Navarro was out of the question,but Kottaras is a big dropoff from backup and benchplayer. To have a backup and late inning threat like Navarro was a luxury.I do remember Kottaris having a couple of big hits against the cubs though.

So then who would you have brought in to be the backup? As I said, Kotteras did have a good OBP and has some power, which are two things that Koyie Hill does not have. And of course the Cubs would be in trouble at catcher if Castillo got hurt, but a lot of teams would be if their starting catcher got hurt too. The Cardinals had a losing record during the time Molina went on the DL. The Braves didn’t really get going until Brian McCann came back from his injury. The year Buster Posey broke his leg, the Giants missed the playoffs. Remember too, the Cubs got Navarro coming off of a few bad seasons, so his value actually increased in the past year. Last year when the Cubs signed Navarro, people could have very well asked, “why are the Cubs signing a guy who can’t hit .250 and barely played last year?” I’m not saying Kottaras will be as good as Navarro was this year or will increase his value like Navarro did, but then again it’s not like making or missing the playoffs is ever determined by who your backup catcher is.

Why is there no mention of the new catcher`s ability to play defense? That aspect of a catcher`s game is critical, as is his proclivity to call pitches well and work harmoniously with hurlers. What is Kotteras`s rep in these areas?

I certainly was not suggesting Koyie Hill be signed. But if i do recall his OBP and playcalling may have led to the reason the Cubs had a winning record when he was starting. I might be wrong about that but his batting ave. was awful. He did call a good game but with Soto and Castilla the Cubs options at the time he was surly te odd man out.

The Cubs finished last with Navarro. I think the Cubs could finish last without him. We are still in the era of flipable assets. The extra money not spent on a more offensely talented catcher could go to pitching that can be traded during the year. Since it is a little early to be ordering playoff and WS tickets in Chicago; I think we are seeing the method of operation for the coming year. I don’t like it; but when reality is interjected, it makes sense. Go Cubs!!!

PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! Sorry Jim Mora just had to do it.

Also the Cardinals had pitching,hitting,defense,bullpen and a better coaching staff. The Braves scored a lot more runs,had a shut down bullpen and played in the N.L. East.The Giants you could actually say you cant win them all. So maybe there were other aspects besides the catchers that helped them win. There is much work to do and i think most of us commenting agree a backup catcher is the least of it.

But my point was, when their good catchers were out with injury, they suddenly weren’t as good. But the Cubs aren’t exactly going to be a playoff team next year, so I don’t know why we’re worried about what will happen if Welington Castillo goes down with an injury anyway. Also, Koyie Hill’s OBP with the Cubs was .266, so it definitely wasn’t his OBP that helped the Cubs win games.

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