George Kottaras traded to Cubs for cash
Canadian catcher had .349 OBP with Royals in 2013
Canadian catcher George Kottaras has found a new major league home with some familiar faces.
The Chicago Cubs acquired the Scarborough, Ont., native on Tuesday for cash.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were the GM and assistant GM, respectively, with the Boston Red Sox in 2008 when Kottaras spent time on the team’s roster.
Kottaras, 30, was designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals on Nov. 22 after posting a .180 batting average and five home runs over 126 plate appearances in the 2013 season.
In Chicago, he is expected to serve as Wellington Castillo’s backup. Kottaras did post a .349 on-base percentage this past season, thanks to a 19 per cent walk rate, five per cent higher than his career mark.
Kottaras posted a .351 OBP in 2012 between Milwaukee and Oakland. Combined with the 2013 campaign, he got on base at the 10th highest rate of all catchers with a minimum of 300 plate appearances.
The knock on Kottaras, besides a low batting average, is his inability to throw out runners attempting to steal against him. He has thrown out 33 of 184 runners, or a lowly 18 per cent.
The Royals claimed him off waivers from Oakland in January 2013.
In July 2012, Kottaras was DFA’d by Milwaukee after losing his job to Martin Maldonado.
For his career, the left-handed hitting Kottaras has a .220 batting average and .319 OBP against right-handed pitcher and a .188/ .343 line versus lefties.
Kottaras made $1 million US in 2013 and probably will receive a raise as an arbitration-eligible player.