As noted last night by CBSSports.com MLB insider Danny Knobler, the odd man out in the three-way trade that sent first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners and catcher John Jaso to the Oakland Athletics was catcher George Kottaras. A 29-year-old backstop who split time between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Athletics in 2012, he penned a one-year, $1 million deal with the A's this offseason to avoid arbitration. To make room for Jaso, Kottaras was designated for assignment yesterday after the consummation of the deal.
Needless to say, at $1 million and only one year on the deal for any team that takes him on, one has to wonder if this would be a deal that makes sense for the Yankees?
At present, catchers Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart are slated to be in a head-to-head competition for the starting gig. Young backstop Austin Romine will most likely start the season in Triple-A Scranton coming off of back issues in 2012. While both Cervelli and Stewart are without question better from a defensive front, they're combined total of nine career home runs equals the same amount of home runs Kottaras hit last season alone. In addition, Kottaras also set new personal-bests in 2012 with 31 runs batted in and a .351 on base percentage. However, he ranks among the league's worst in thrown-out runners, does not have a strong arm, and as a left-handed hitter, has immense struggles against left-handed pitching (all of his home runs and 27 of his 31 runs batted in came off of right-handed pitching last season).
That being said, the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium could welcome more home run opportunities for the left-handed Kottaras. Furthermore, his offensive prowess would be a slight jolt to a position filled with offensive question marks entering 2013. In addition, the presence of Cervelli and/or Stewart would mitigate any defensive woes or issues against left-handed pitching that Kottaras carries over to the Bronx.
While it's only speculation at this point, the financials and the fact that this deal would cost very little (if anything) prospect-wise makes it a sensible trade for general manager Brian Cashman to explore.
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