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.
First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.
The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.
The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.