Just a week after acquiring catcher George Kottaras in a trade from the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago Cubs have reportedly agreed to a modest contract with Kottaras in order to avoid a long arbitration battle.
George Kottaras settles with #cubs. $1.075M plus incentives.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 3, 2013
$1.o75 million for 1 year of modest production at the catcher position is about the going rate, and I like this agreement for both sides. After Dioner Navarro signed with the Toronto Blue Jays (who subsequently parted ways with J.P. Arencibia), Kottaras was their lone, in-house option as the backup to Wellington Castillo, and that makes this a perfect marriage.
In 2013, Kottaras hit only .180 in 126 plate appearances, but that number is deceiving, as he earned a more than respectable .349 on-base percentage to go with a slugging percentage of .370 and 5 home runs. For his career, Kottares has a .730 OPS that is perfectly fine for a platoon/backup catcher, and his career fWAR of 2.8 in just 820 plate appearances is quite solid in this type of role.
Chicago would be wise to have reasonable expectations for Kottaras in 2014, but the 30-year-old backstop is a perfectly fine compliment to Castillo, and he’ll immediately be one of the better backup options at the position in all of baseball.