Yadier Molina replacement? Cardinals claim George Kottaras off waivers from Indians

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They may still make another move to add catching help following news that Yadier Molina will be out 8-12 weeks with a torn thumb ligament, but in the meantime the Cardinals have claimed veteran catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Indians.

Kottaras has low batting averages and struggles to throw out base-stealers, but his combination of power and plate discipline is elite among catchers and his career .741 OPS is well above average for the position.

He’s never topped 250 plate appearances in a season, so at age 31 he’s unlikely to thrive as a regular, but the Cardinals should be able to get decent production from Kottaras playing him a few times per week. He’s topped a .700 OPS every season since 2010, posting a combined .330 on-base percentage and .420 slugging percentage during that time.

Orioles designate Pedro Alvarez for assignment

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The Baltimore Orioles are terrible and going nowhere fast, so they decided to do some shuffling of the decks today.

One part of that was to called up catcher Caleb Joseph, which was the corresponding move to sending down Chance Sisco the other day. Joseph will now be big league teammates with brother Corban. Aww.

Another thing they did was to purchase the contract of Steve Wilkerson from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s a utility guy who has been swinging a hot bat after getting a late start to the season due to a 50-game drug suspension. Good for him, but that’s bad news for Pedro Alvarez, who was designated for assignment in the corresponding move.

Alvarez, 31, started the season well but has been atrocious for most of it. His line on the year is .180/.283/.414 with eight homers, but he’s been far worse than that for over a month. The 2013 NL home run champ will now go through waivers and, at the end of that process, likely have to choose between free agency or a trip to Norfolk. And, given that it’s the worst team in baseball sending him packing, there’s a good chance that it could be the end of the big league road for him.