Even with Jason Kendall unlikely to return, it’s starting to look like the Brewers will have plenty of catching options when they start Spring Training a few months from now. With Mike Rivera, Angel Salome, and Jonathan Lucroy all likely in the picture, the Brewers claimed George Kottaras off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
Adam McCalvy notes that Kottaras apparently wanted out of Boston, and since he was left with no remaining minor league options, the Red Sox had to let him go:
Kottaras, 26, and a left-handed hitter, reportedly asked out of Boston after it became clear that Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek would be back in 2010. Kottaras appeared in 45 games with the Red Sox last season and batted .237 with one home run and 10 RBIs.
As recently as three years ago, Kottaras was rated the second-best prospect in San Diego’s organization by Baseball America. He was traded from San Diego to Boston late that year to complete the trade that sent pitcher David Wells to the Padres.
Our friend Evan Brunell at Fire Brand of the American League had the news that Kottaras had been let go by the BoSox, and surmised that even if they would have been able to get him through waivers, they would have no place for him at Triple A.
Kottaras hasn’t had much of a chance to play in the majors, but put up decent offensive numbers in the minors (by a catcher’s standards). In seven minor league seasons, he’s hit a combined .269/.367/.444. In 2008, he slugged 22 home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket. If he makes the club in 2010, he could bring some power to a position which has been a virtual black hole the past few years.
The addition of Kottaras could also make Mike Rivera expendable, as McCalvy hints at in his MLB.com article. Rivera is due for arbitration this winter, and while he likely wouldn’t command very much, it could be an opportunity for the Brewers to save another million or two, especially since Kottaras and Rivera seem to be similar players offensively.