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Yadier Molina replacement? Cardinals claim George Kottaras off waivers from Indians

Jul 11, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

kottaras getty Getty Images

They may still make another move to add catching help following news that Yadier Molina will be out 8-12 weeks with a torn thumb ligament, but in the meantime the Cardinals have claimed veteran catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians.

Kottaras has low batting averages and struggles to throw out base-stealers, but his combination of power and plate discipline is elite among catchers and his career .741 OPS is well above average for the position.

He’s never topped 250 plate appearances in a season, so at age 31 he’s unlikely to thrive as a regular, but the Cardinals should be able to get decent production from Kottaras playing him a few times per week. He’s topped a .700 OPS every season since 2010, posting a combined .330 on-base percentage and .420 slugging percentage during that time.

  1. hoopmatch - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Can Anthony J. Pierzynski be far behind?

    • paperlions - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      Yes, he can be.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        How far behind?

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        As far behind as Toronto is of Bawlmore? Sorry, but that one was laying there like a non-knuckling Dickey knuckler.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      He won’t be wearing a Cardinals jersey. I am thinking Kottaras is more of a back-up, platoon signing than anything else. I expect Cruz to be the everyday Catcher.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      He’s … OK. Career OPS+ is right about 100. Defense? He’s not known as a pitch-framer. He has average range. He has a horrible out-stealing percentage. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kottage01.shtml

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Contra Aaron, he does NOT have great plate discipline. 119 BB to 198 Ks proves that, as does a K/plate appearance percentage of nearly 40 percent.

      • Aaron Gleeman - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Kottaras has averaged 85 walks per 600 plate appearances for his career. That’s very good plate discipline. He had 24 walks in only 126 plate appearances last season.

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        Well, I’ll say the high K rate disagrees. Or, at a minimum, if he’s not chasing bad pitches, he has high discipline combined with a teh suck contact rate. In either case, I wouldn’t rate his overall plate performance quite as high as you might.

      • paperlions - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:23 AM

        MLB BB rate is usually around 8%. Kottaras is at 14% for his career, which is excellent.

        He also K’s a lot, 23.4%, which is about 5% above league average.

        The K rate is irrelevant to his plate approach, the K rate just suggests that he has contact issues, not that he doesn’t have good discipline, which he obviously does.

  2. tridecagon - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    There’s no such thing as a “Yadier Molina replacement”, but Cruz and Kottaras should hold down the fort well until he returns.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM

      Unfortunately, that return isn’t coming until 2015.

      • gibbyfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        Too early to count Yadi out for the PS………they can win that division without him.

      • chrisernst82 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:50 PM

        With Yady being Yady there is now reason to think he wont be back at some point. His drive and passion for the game is what has made him my favorite player years ago. He would play 162 games a year if it was up to him.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        I fully support the spirit of your post 82. But a torn ligament in the thumb makes it impossible to swing a bat. Further, the risk of damaging it long term is far to great to risk coming back prior to being 100% healthy. Aside from all that…this is the Cardinals organization we are talking about. When it comes to injury reports and their subsequent timetables, you can double what is reported. So in other words (8 – 12) = (16 – 24). Perhaps you are referring to Winter League ball?

      • emdash01 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:00 PM

        Bryce Harper had the same injury and was out about 60 games, so Molina can probably come back in mid/late September. He probably won’t be able to contribute much at the plate for a while as he’d need to get his timing back, but he’d be able to handle the pitching staff by that point.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        That’s the frustrating part 01. Looked initially like he was going to rub some dirt on it and shake it off. Hell…he caught the top half of the next inning. No visible issues. I mean…he was shaking his thumb out. But that’s it. Tough blow. Heart and soul of the team during the most important time of the year.

      • chrisernst82 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        With all the pessimism in here about it i figured i would be the optimistic one. Every article needs one of these from a fan of the team featured in the article.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      @Gibby … I doubt it. Miller was teh suck in his last start and I’m assuming his back is giving him ongoing problems. I’m also assuming Wacha will be on the shelf for the season himself. Between all of Yadi’s skills, for a half-season, even, he’s prolly worth about 4 wins. Add in the pitching woes and the Cards might get one of the WC spots.

      • gibbyfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Cards came intot he season with pitching depth and a lot of hitting potential. They are likely to pull through

      • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 8:16 PM

        “Came into” isn’t the same as now, sadly. Garcia? Gone for year. Wacha? Likely gone for year. Miller? Who knows what’s up. “Hitting potential”? Until I see more signs of potential becoming reality in the OF, I’ll remain more dubious.

  3. clydeserra - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    As an A’s fan, I love that picture. I know where its from, and I know where that game is headed.

  4. missingdiz - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    Good to get a veteran catcher since among the starters only Wainwright isn’t inexperienced or high-maintenance.

  5. beepbeepbeeplgb - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    at least it wasn’t aj… thank god we passed on the db.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      This really does say a lot about what the trade market for AJP must have looked like.

  6. gonderfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Another big-league team for my second-favorite catcher ever. I’m not a Cardinals fan, but I am hoping Kottaras gets a chance to shine.

  7. paperlions - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Kottaras is probably more of a Tony Cruz replacement. I would expect Cruz to get more time based on his familiarity with the pitchers and good defense. Who knows if he can hit or not. Hard to know when a guy never gets more than 1 start/week.

    • gibbyfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise with TC.

  8. juuuuustabitoutside - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    I “hear” Miguel Olivo is available…

  9. chrisernst82 - Jul 11, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I think people are underestimating Cruz. He has had some good people to learn from.

  10. cincinata - Jul 12, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Personally, I think the cards are toast, with Garcia, Wacha and Molina out for the year. If you are looking for help from Kottaras, forgetaboutit. It is either Cruz or no one. Kottaras may just be there to give him a little rest from time to time. If Kelly does not come back strong, it is all over after the A-S break. Kelly has been in the past a savior of sorts for the birds. He surprised me several times with his tenacity game after game to keep in the game. However, Friday night did not look too good for the birds even though they came back. Can’t do that too often.

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