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Mark Kotsay Far From the Best Option

Mark Kotsayphoto © 2009 Keith Allison | more info (via: Wylio)Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers are looking for a “veteran reserve,” and after coming up empty on Willie Harris and Jorge Cantu, have set their sights on Mark Kotsay. He notes that Kotsay hits left-handed and would likely pinch-hit for Carlos Gomez.

Yeah, I don’t get it, either.

Kotsay will be in his age 35 season in 2011, and is coming off a year with the White Sox in which he hit .239/.306/.376. To be fair, his .247 BABIP gives us reason to believe he was a bit unlucky last year, but I’m not entirely convinced he’s the best option if you’re looking for a left-handed complement to Gomez.

That would be Chris Dickerson. He’s already on the roster, hits left-handed, and unlike Kotsay, isn’t completely useless in the outfield. What, exactly, does Dickerson have to do in order to get a fair chance at winning playing time?

If Dickerson isn’t your cup of tea, how about Jody Gerut, who the Brewers cut loose last season? For his career, Gerut has averaged a triple slash line of .262/.325/.433 on a BABIP of .276. Kotsay? .279/.335/.411 on a BABIP of .297. Gerut has a career wOBA of .327. Kotsay has a career wOBA of .324. Gerut’s career OPS+ is 103. Kotsay’s career OPS+ is 97. Essentially, the Brewers had Mark Kotsay last year, and his name was Jody Gerut. And he wasn’t good enough to finish the year on the team.

If you’re not crazy about Dickerson OR Gerut and you want a lefty bat for pinch-hitting, why not bring back Russell Branyan? Branyan is just as useless in the field as Kotsay, but would at least provide some power off the bench. Branyan has also shown more patience than Kotsay during his career, putting up a BB% of 11.8%, compared to Kotsay’s 7.8%.

If it seems like I already hate the idea of signing Mark Kotsay, that’s not entirely true. It almost entirely depends on cost — if he’s coming into spring on a non-roster invite and is making close to the league minimum, fine. It didn’t hurt to sign Gabe Kapler, Frank Catalanotto, or Jim Edmonds. Who knows, maybe this turns out being a good move as well.

There is one difference, though. In the past, the team didn’t have better options that they had already let go.