Journeyman first baseman Casey Kotchman has signed a minor-league deal with the Royals after sitting out last season.
Kotchman was the Angels’ first-round pick in 2001 and played 10 seasons in the majors for seven different teams, most recently with the Marlins in 2013.
He’s a good defensive first baseman and controls the strike zone well, but Kotchman lacks power for the position and is a career .260 hitter with a .711 OPS in 939 games.
Kansas City has Eric Hosmer at first base and signed Kendrys Morales for a bunch of money to replace Billy Butler at designated hitter, so there isn’t much room for Kotchman beyond serving as Triple-A depth.
Casey Kotchman was the Marlins’ Opening Day first baseman, but landed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring after just two games. He came back in June and played four more games before going back on the DL with an oblique injury.
Now he’s finally healthy again, but this time the Marlins don’t want him back, releasing the 30-year-old who had been rehabbing in the minors. Kotchman hit .295 with zero homers and a .737 OPS in 18 games at Triple-A and Logan Morrison is entrenched as Miami’s regular first baseman.
Kotchman is a good-fielding first baseman, but he’s always lacked the kind of bat teams look for at the position and it’s hard to imagine him landing more than a bench gig for 2014.
After missing the past six weeks with a strained hamstring Giancarlo Stanton is off the disabled list and will be in the Marlins’ lineup tonight against the Brewers. To make room on the roster Miami placed Casey Kotchman on the DL with a strained oblique, shutting him down just one week after returning from the 60-day DL with a hamstring injury of his own.
Miami’s offense is averaging an MLB-worst 3.0 runs per game–no other team is scoring fewer than 3.5 runs per game–and the Marlins’ non-Stanton hitters have combined for just 28 homers in 2,225 plate appearances this season.
Marcell Ozuna did such a good job filling in for Stanton in right field that the Marlins have decided to shift the 22-year-old rookie to center field. Ozuna has hit .331 with an .843 OPS in 36 games, which is remarkable considering he nearly jumped from Single-A to the majors, playing a grand total of just 10 games at Double-A.
For most of his career Casey Kotchman has been viewed as a weak-hitting first baseman who’s typically one of the lesser hitters in a lineup. For the Marlins he’s damn near a savior.
Miami has activated Kotchman from the 60-day disabled list after he missed two months with a hamstring injury and he’s batting sixth tonight against the Phillies.
Kotchman hit just .229 with a .612 OPS in 133 games for the Indians last season and is a career .261 hitter with a .714 OPS that’s well below par for first baseman. However, a .714 OPS would rank third among all Marlins with at least 100 trips to the plate this season.
Casey Kotchman exited yesterday’s game with a hamstring injury and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins will place him on the disabled list.
Kotchman hit just .229 with a .612 OPS in 142 games for Cleveland last season and was only getting an opportunity in Miami because Logan Morrison is out following knee surgery.
Greg Dobbs seems likely to get most of the playing time at first base for now and he’s a 34-year-old with a .401 career slugging percentage. And Morrison isn’t due back until June or so. Marlins baseball!