After many weeks of rumors that the Cubs would be pursuing a left handed hitting catcher, the front office has finally found their man in George Kotaras. While this move is thoroughly unsexy, Kottaras comes at a fraction of the price of a guy like Jarrod Saltalamcchia would cost in free agency, and (baring any further moves) lets Welington Castillo remain the Cubs starting catcher.
Kottaras has been a very effective backup catcher in his career, posting a career line of .214/.324/.406, with a couple of high-.700s OPS seasons thrown in. He provides the Cubs’ lineup with much needed patience, and some decent pop to boot, all for a backup catcher’s salary.
Kottaras is a career .749 OPS hitter against RHP, and Castillo is a career .838 OPS hitter against lefties. While Castillo will still face a majority of the plate appearances against righties, together the pair should provide the Cubs with well above average offensive production from the catcher position.
While this move obviously isn’t a season-changer for the Cubs, it allows Welington to continue to develop as a hitter and catcher without the added pressure of facing some of the toughest pitchers in the league. Furthermore, the Cubs may save millions of dollars this year and in the future by not signing a Saltalamacchia, or trading for Wieters, or any number of costly moves to “upgrade” the catcher position. That money can now be spent in more worthwhile places, like finding another starter or two, and filling out the rest of the roster.
Overall, considering the Cubs gave up nothing but money for Kottaras, I love this deal for the Cubs. (Well, as much as you can love a deal for a backup catcher, anyway.)