Royals Claim George Kottaras Reviewed by Momizat on . In a minor move, the Royals claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. As a response, the Royals designated Tony Abreu for assignment. Kott In a minor move, the Royals claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. As a response, the Royals designated Tony Abreu for assignment. Kott Rating: 0
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Royals Claim George Kottaras

Royals Claim George Kottaras

In a minor move, the Royals claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. As a response, the Royals designated Tony Abreu for assignment. Kottaras will likely compete with previously acquired Brett Hayes for the role of backup catcher to Salvador Perez. IF things go as planned, this will be a light role and shouldn’t cause much hand wringing, but based on this fan base, that’s hard to imagine. In Kottaras, the Royals get a left-handed hitting catcher who is pretty good with the stick and can work a walk. He’ll give you a solid at bat and has a little bit of power with a career .412 slugging percentage. He struggles a bit with contact and because of that he tends to have a bit of a lower batting average, but he provides something you don’t see much with the Royals and that’s that ability to get on base relative to his batting average.

The knock on Kottaras is kind of a big one and it’s that he just isn’t a very good defensive catcher. Well wait, it’s more than that even. He’s well below average defensively, and old baseball axioms dictate that the backup catcher should be a stud defensively. I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, but the Royals organization does, so it would be a minor upset to me if the Royals break camp with Kottaras backing up Perez rather than Brett Hayes.

Still, this provides another position battle in spring training to watch for, which brings the list to fifth starter, seventh reliever and second base. Personally, I lean toward Kottaras as the guy who I’d want to win the job because I’m not keen on putting a hole in the lineup every time Perez needs a day off, and that’s what would happen with Brett Hayes who is as bad offensively as Kottaras is defensively. Ultimately, for 25-30 games, it doesn’t matter all that much, but championship teams make the best roster decisions 1-25 and don’t throw away spots for reasons beyond baseball. That said, the backup catcher decision could be worth maybe a win over the course of the season, if that, and I don’t think that’s going to be the difference between a playoff spot and not.

What I like about this move is it shows a willingness on Dayton Moore’s part to not stand pat even after it looks like everything is set for the coming season. There aren’t a lot of positions on this team that need a competition. Even guys who underperformed last season are in positions to be starters without getting pushed as they should be. A guy like Eric Hosmer is the first baseman and that hasn’t changed because of one rough season. It’s the same for Mike Moustakas. Another year like 2012, and maybe that changes, but until then, it’s their job. The only position not up for grabs that probably should be is the one we’ve all talked about, right field. This is just another opportunity to have a battle for a position, and I like it. And I personally like the player they brought in for that.

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I never had a chance. I was born into a family who loved baseball and the Royals, so I accordingly love baseball and the Royals. I just so happen to love to write also, which makes writing about the Royals for this site something that makes me happy each and every day. When I first started blogging, a fairly well known baseball writer told me to only do it until I'm unhappy doing it, but I don't see that coming any time soon.

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Comments (3)

  • David Lesky

    I don’t think it ever hurts to have someone with experience in a winning organization, but I also think with a guy like Kottaras, that is extremely overrated.

  • DownUnderFan

    One question for you, David. What impact do you think having George Kottaras on the bench will have with this young club. Remember that Kottaras arrived in Oakland just about the time they put the hammer down last year in making it to the playoffs. That knowledge should have a positive impact on the young Royals players just from him talking in the dugout and locker room about what the A’s achieved last year.

  • DownUnderFan

    Let me add a few points to your assessment, David.

    Yes Kottaras has a habit of not making contact, striking out 1 of every 4 at bats in his career. But did you check Hayes? He strikes out 1 of every 3 at bats. Even worse.

    Kottaras also has 24 HR and 84 RBIs in 592 career at bats. That is about one full season worth and I would take 24 and 84 in a season from most Royals starters. You are correct, his lifetime average at 220 is low but his OBA is 320 thanks to 78 walks. So he gets on base a decent amount of the time and knows how to drive in runs. Hayes on the other hand has a lower BA and OBA (60 points lower than GK), hits with less power and has driven 1/3 the runs in 1/2 the at bats. Plus, as you said, Kottaras gives the Royals another LH bat off the bench to PH for Francoeur or Getz if need be.

    Now to his defense. Fielding average is the same as Hayes while Passed Balls per game are a little higher. Kottaras big downside though is his inability to throw out runners, 24 of 150 in his career.

    Still overall his fielding stats are not enough lower than Hayes to pick Hayes over Kottaras, especially when Kottaras can provide a bat off the bench and some run support when Perez is rested. Not to mention, if Perez ended up on the DL, I would much rather see Kottaras behind the plate for 2 weeks than Hayes.

    I have been worried about the backup catching situation since Hayes was signed and Pena released. To me this is a much needed move for little additional money. Unless George Kottaras is horrible in spring training, he needs to break camp with KC and send Hayes on his way.

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