Indians designate George Kottaras for assignment

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Cleveland picked up outfielder Chris Dickerson from Pittsburgh to help fill in for injured center fielder Michael Bourn and to make room for him on the roster the Indians designated catcher George Kottaras for assignment.

Kottaras has bounced around a ton over the years and the Indians signed the 31-year-old after he was released by the Cubs during spring training.

When given an extended opportunity for playing time he’s generally produced well for a catcher thanks to good power and plate discipline, posting a .741 OPS in 305 career games, but Kottaras’ batting averages are usually ugly and he always struggles to throw out a decent percentage of steal attempts.

Yan Gomes started 71 of the Indians’ first 87 games behind the plate, including 31 of the past 36 games, and it’s possible the Indians feel comfortable using Carlos Santana at catcher again if needed.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”