Carlos Pena and Casey Kotchman are “two names high on Cleveland’s list”

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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported yesterday that the Indians’ front office had approached ownership about expanding the payroll to sign Carlos Pena, but he might not be the only free agent first baseman on the team’s radar.

Jordan Bastian of MLB.com confirms the team’s interest in Pena, but adds that Casey Kotchman is also in the mix and says together they’re “two names high on Cleveland’s list.”

Bastian goes on to call Kotchman “the more realistic option” and that makes sense, because he’s also the less productive option. Kotchman had a .306 batting average last season while Pena hit just .225, yet Pena still posted the higher OPS with an .819 mark compared to .800 from Kotchman. And that was Kotchman’s best season since 2008, whereas Pena has topped an .800 OPS in four of the past five years and has a career OPS that’s 100 points higher than Kotchman’s.

If the Indians fail to sign Pena or Kotchman their fallback plan at first base involves Carlos Santana, Matt LaPorta, and Shelley Duncan, but it certainly sounds as though their adding a free agent is likely.

Wilson Ramos could join Phillies on Wednesday

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Phillies catcher Wilson Ramos could join the team in Wednesday for the last game of the club’s two-game set against the Red Sox, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Manager Gabe Kapler said, “Nothing is off the table.”

Ramos has been on a rehab assignment with Advanced-A Clearwater, recovering from a strained left hamstring he suffered just ahead of the All-Star break when he was with the Rays. The Phillies acquired him on July 31 prior to the non-waiver trade deadline for a player to be named later.

Prior to the injury, Ramos was batting a healthy .297/.346/.488 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI in 315 plate appearances. His arrival will likely mean back-up catcher Andrew Knapp gets sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Ramos could also draw the lion’s share of the playing time behind the plate, bumping first-string catcher Jorge Alfaro down on the depth chart.