The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: George Kottaras
Season stats: 4 games, 6 PA, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, .200/.333/.200 54 OPS+
Overall grade: C
Positives: Umm, well, he got to wear the birds on the bat….he at least got a hit, which is more than he did when he went to Toronto….drove in a run on a error (attempted forceout), which might have been bigger had the Cards not been down 11-1 at the time.
Negatives: Didn’t even get settled in before he was designated for assignment….even in that short time, got placed in the ninth spot in the lineup against the Rays.
Overview: Even with the passage of time, I’ve still not understood this whole thing. I wouldn’t say it’s the most bizarre thing I’ve seen out of the Cardinal front office, but it’s on the list.
Yadier Molina goes down to injury. Obviously, the club had little faith in a Tony Cruz/Audry Perez combo, so they look to the free agent market. There are two names out there, Kottaras and A.J. Pierzynski. As far as I know, there was no legal or financial reason to go with one over the other. Both had been designated for assignment, both had cleared waivers. The Cards went with Kottaras.
Fine and good, yet they reverse field just over a week later and sign Pierzynski, sending Kottaras back to the waiver wire. Was Pierzynski a better choice for the club? Probably. It’s pretty obvious his bat was stronger and any defensive shortcomings weren’t that glaring. However, that was pretty well know beforehand, though Kottaras had some solid numbers with Cleveland earlier this year.
So what changed? What happened in Kottaras’s six plate appearances that made it necessarily to change course and get Pierzynski in here? Again, I’m not saying that Pierzynski wasn’t the better choice, I just don’t know why they didn’t make that pick in the first place instead of jerking Kotteras around.
Outlook: Kotteras went to Toronto and spent most of the rest of the year in the minors, getting a handful of at bats once the rosters expanded. He was granted free agency by the Blue Jays after the season and likely will get a minor league invite and be catching depth in some organization. He just might want to leave his things packed.