Posts Tagged ‘George Kottaras’

Fort Fragments: Player Movement

Here’s a brief roundup of some Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana player movement (or transactions) since the end of the season:

Veteran catcher, Chad Moeller has resigned with the Orioles.

The last player form the Wizards association with the Twins that is still associated with the Twins, Michael Cuddyer has had his option picked up by Minnesota.

The Milwaukee Brewers have claimed Luis Cruz off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Brew-Crew also claimed former Wizards catcher, George Kottaras, who was released from the Red Sox.

Possibly in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft, the Padres made some 40-Man roster changes, adding three. Among those is former Fort Wayne Wizard and this year’s Triple-A Home Run Derby champ, Chad Huffman.

Former Wizard outfielder Robert Perry has jumped from the independant Frontier League’s Windy City Thunderbolts to Minor League Baseball. He was signed by the Colorado Rockies.

The Atlanta Braves have resigned free-agent former Wizards pitcher, John Huber.

Brewers Claim Former Wizard, George Kottaras

According to Anthony Witrado of the Journal Sentinel, the Milwakee Brewers have claimed (hat tipe to MLBTradeRumors) former Fort Wayne Wizard, George Kottaras from the Boston Red Sox off release waivers. Brewers GM, Doug Melvin has indcated that the Kottaras claim was to add depth to the catching corps and give them more depth come spring.

Related BBIFW George Kottaras Posts:

Roster Battles: Barfield and Kottaras In, Pauley Out, Moeller Still Fighting

It’s getting that time of spring, position battles are being won and lost. Here’s a look at four former Fort Wayne Wizards:

Josh Barfield dedicated himself to regaining a big league roster spot this offseason and into spring. In doing so, he developed skills at new positions, which may have been the deciding factor in giving him a spot on the roster. Barfield will be used as a late-inning pinch-runner, and will start at second base, in the outfield and at third. Until this year, he was exclusively a second baseman.

“I like his versatility, speed and how good he is on the bases,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of Barfield. “I trust him late in the ballgame to do those things . . . I still feel the bat’s coming. The work he’s done has yet to translate into the games, but I think it will.”

I guess his extra work this spring paid off. Congrats Josh. Hope it’s the first step toward great things!

George Kottaras appears to have also locked up a spot with Boston. His ability to catch Tim Wakefield impressed:

“He’s not been thrown into just a normal backup situation,” said the manager. “Again, nobody has made our team yet. But he’s catching Wake right now, so he’s got that added responsibility. He’s a good receiver. He’s been throwing real well. He’s had a good camp.”

He knows Kottaras possesses some power in his bat; in 395 at-bats with Pawtucket last season, Kottaras hit 22 home runs.

In Orioles camp, the out-of-options David Pauley cleared waivers and is being outrighted to AAA Norfolk. Pauley came to Baltimore from Boston in a trade a few months back. He was first expected to contend for place in the rotation, but that was ruled out last week.

Veteran and well-traveled Chad Moeller remains in Baltimore’s camp as he fights for a spot as backup catcher. Yet, even if he wins the gig, it’s liekly to be short-lived:

“I think it’s pretty clear,” said Trembley. “Hammock provides offense. Moeller provides experience calling the game and working with the staff. That’s a decision where we will decide on what’s more important.”

One complication for the Orioles is that their backup catcher is likely a temporary posting. Baltimore expects to promote top prospect Matt Wieters to the parent club at some point before the All-Star break, and once that happens, it will shift initial starter Gregg Zaun into a backup and mentor role.

With Varitek, Ross and Cash Out, is Kottaras In?

With the Boston Red Sox seemingly parting ways with Jason Varitek, David Ross joining the Braves and having the Yankees snagging the now former Red Sox catcher, Kevin Cash, today, former Wizards catcher Goerge Kottaras is seemingly the incumbant Red Sox catcher. For now anyway.

Kottaras sports a hefty .200 batting average in 3 games and 5 at-bats at the major league level after having made his MLB debut last season. He was once a highly regarded prospect. In 2004, Kottaras played in the Olympics as first baseman and backup catcher for the Greece team. He collected three hits to help the team come from behind and defeat Italy 11-7. It was the team’s first and only win.

George Kottaras Might be a Starter in 2009The following year, he did well at High-A, batting .303 before his promotion to Double-A Mobile. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in September of 2006 to complete an Aug 31 trade for David Wells. That year, Kottaras was a Futures Game selection. During the game, he slugged a two run homer off Phillip Hughes and also collected an RBI off of Homer Bailey.

Yet, since that time, his average has been pretty much on the decline. Having spent two seasons at Triple-A Pawtucket, he got his chance very late in the 2008 season as a September callup, but the bench was pretty much full of backup catchers at that point and there was no sure thing he’d see any MLB action. Fortunately he did, and perhaps he was able to make a good impression on Francona and others.

But one has to suspect that the Red Sox will sign a catcher before (or two) before Spring Training. I’ve speculated in the past that they might try to pry away one of Texas’s young catchers, and latest word I have heard says that they were recently scouting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. There are a few catchers on the free agent market still, including two former Wizards, Jarvier Valentin and Chad Moeller (whom I thought was on his way to Baltimore). Might they take a chance on Ivan Rodriguez?

See Also: Wizards Where R They? George Kottaras

Photo by Chad Gramling

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Kottaras, Venable, Mott

YorkRegion Profiles George Kottaras

Following his MLB debut, George Kottaras gets some coverage from his native area press. A very good profile that covers the Red Sox’s fourth string catcher from being drafted, to his career in the minors, to the Olympics and to the eventual call-up. Unfortunately, they can’t spell his last name correctly. :(

“There was a lot of stuff going on with our AAA team (playoffs) and I wasn’t aware that I would be called up.” About a half hour after the team got knocked out of the playoffs, he got a call to go into Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson’s office. “He told me I was going up right away,” Kottaras recalled.

Will Venable is Impressing

The San Francisco Chronicle recently took a brief look at “Max’s son” – Max being former Wizards’ hitting coach, Max Venable and Max’s son being former Wizard, Will Venable. At the time, the 25-year-old rookie was hitting .340 in 47 big-league at-bats. But the irony of the situation is that it was not Will’s Dad, but his mother, Molly, who encouraged Will to pick up baseball again after having not played his freshman college year while playing baseball at Princeton.

“She told me to think about maybe trying baseball again because she saw the opportunities that it gave my dad,” he said. “I went to Princeton with the intentions of trying both. I didn’t play my freshman year because I couldn’t handle it. She just continually reminded me to keep it in mind, and it ended up working out.”

Mott Reflects Fondly on Fort Wayne Memories

TOM MOTT was recently named as one of the All-Time Wizards based upon his performance as a Wizards player. He wrote in to the Journal Gazette to reflect.

Although my dream of getting to the big leagues was never realized, when I think about my five-year baseball career, Fort Wayne is always the first thing that comes into my head. Great people, great stadium, great teammates and an absolutely wonderful community.

Mott is now the founder and director of a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged kids from around the world come to the United States to receive a fully sponsored education. Check out his site at  1dreamfoundation.com. The link has also been added to the right panel links.

George Kottaras’ MLB Debut

George Kottaras with the WizardsI’m a little behind on this, but former Wizards Catcher, George Kottaras made his Major League debut on Saturday, September 13th. That makes him the 76th former Wizard and the 14th of the season to do so.

Kottaras entered in the 7th inning that saw a flurry of other defensive replacements. I guess being down 8-0 will do that to a team late in the game. In the bottom half of the inning, he struck out in his first MLB at-bat, only to take first base on a wild pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Kevin Cash after reaching third. In the bottom of the ninth, he flied out to right.

Back on Aug. 31, 2006, the Red Sox acquired Kottaras from the Padres for David Wells, thinking he could be their catcher some day.

It remains to be seen if or when that will be, but catcher Jason Varitek is eligible for free agency this winter. Kottaras had a good year at Triple-A Pawtucket, belting 22 homers to go along with 65 RBIs.

While Varitek’s future is undecided, Kottaras is using these last few weeks of the season to learn whatever he can from the captain.

I still don’t see Kottaras in Boston’s long-range plans. they seem to really be coveting Texas’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia. 

Related BBIFW Posts:

Kottaras Added to Red Sox 40-Man Roster

George Kottaras as a Fort Wayne Wizard in 2004

Former Wizards catcher, George Kottaras has been added to the Boston Red Sox’s 40-man roster. This sets the stage for determining who will become the 75th and 76th former Wizards player to make his MLB debut; as well as the 13th and 14th player former Wizards debut during the 2008 season.

Pitcher, Michael Ekstrom was called up a few days ago, but has not yet appeared in an MLB game. So, will it be Kottaras, Ekstrom or perhaps someone else who is yet to be called up?

Kottaras is now one of four catchers that the Reds Sox are carrying, so there is no gaurantee that he will even see action. His offensive production leaves a little to be desired and I gotta wonder if he’ll ever be more than a “Four-A” player given the fact that he has spent pretty much two full seasons at Triple-A with this being his first taste of big league action.

My guess is that the Red Sox are thinking ahead to 2009 a little bit and want to see how he handles the pitching staff.

“How he gets into games, or if . . . I really don’t know,” Francona said. “The opportunity may present itself at some point. . . . You’re always trying to strike a balance and trying to stay ahead of everything so that if something comes up you don’t miss an opportunity to maybe get a Kottaras an at-bat. But I don’t know how you can game plan how to get four catchers in a game. Something’s either going to go wrong or terribly right . . . but even if he’s working in the bullpen with Tuck, it’s an exciting time for him” [source: The Boston Herald].

Related BBIFW Posts:

Wizards Where R They? – George Kottaras

George Kottaras with the Wizards in 2004In 2002, the San Diego Padres selected George Kottaras in the 20th round of the draft with the 595th overall pick.

In 2004, he put together a solid 78 games with the Fort Wayne Wizards, collecting 84 hits, 40 runs, 18 doubles, 7 home runs and driving in 46 runs while drawing 51 walks over 271 at-bats. He boasted a .310 average, a .415 on base percentage and a .461 slugging percentage.

Also in 2004, Kottaras played in the Olympics, where he served as first baseman and backup catcher for the Greece team. He collected three hits to help the team come from behind and defeat Italy 11-7. It was the team’s first and only win.

The following year, he did well at the High-A level, batting .303 before his promotion to Double-A Mobile. Since that time, his average has been pretty much on the decline. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in September of 2006 to complete an Aug 31 trade for David Wells.

Also in 2006, Kottaras was a Futures Game selection. During the game, he slugged a two run homer off Phillip Hughes and also collected an RBI off of Homer Bailey.

Today, he remains in the Rod Sox farm system where he is in the second consecutive season with Triple-A Pawtucket. As a Minor Leaguer who hasn’t yet gotten even a cup of coffee with a big league club, Kottaras has been an All-Star twice in addition to his other achievements.

Given the lackluster performances of Boston’s catchers this season and Jason Veritek’s impending free agency, I thought we’d get a chance to see Kottaras this season. Yet, with Kevin Cash emerging as the heir to Doug Mirabelli in catching Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball, and Veritek’s status as a BoSox living legend, it’s doubtful. And now, it appears that the Red Sox are targeting catchers in the trade market (perhaps they may be after the Texas Rangers’ Taylor Teagarden, who was recently sent back to Triple-A after a short stint with the big club.

On a bright note, Kottaras seems to have found his power stroke this year, however. On the season, he’s hitting .235 with a career high 19 home runs and 55 RBI’s. He’s drawn 52 walks and struck out 84 times in 307 at-bats. Three of his dingers have come in the last ten games.

Photo by Chad Gramling

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