George Kottaras was acquired in November for mere cash and is expected to be the Cubs’ backup catcher this year. As a left handed hitting catcher, he projects to get most of his bats against righties and while he’s never had a great average, he’s always had great walk rates. In limited at bats, he’s actually been quite productive, and that’s probably why the Rangers have taken an interest in him since the injury to Geovany Soto...
After losing Geo Soto to injury. Texas taking hard look at Cub catcher George Kottaras .— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) March 25, 2014
There’s really no incentive for the Cubs to give up Kottaras for peanuts. He’s a solid backup catcher, he’ll make a little over $1 million this year and the Cubs control him for 2015 as well. No, the Cubs will no doubt require something of value to give him up and go with John Baker as their backup. They’re not going to get a guy in triple-A who could be a fourth starter later this year, but if they can get an arm with upside in the lower levels (in the 25ish range of a system’s top prospects?), maybe they’ll pull the trigger.
Rangers trade suggestion:
George Kottaras for a PTBNL (who will become RHP David Ledbetter)
Ledbetter was a 2013 third-round draft pick out of college who pitched well in his professional debut. He has a low 90s fastball that generates a lot of ground balls to go with an average curve and an inconsistent changeup. He also has very good command.
Bonus Rangers Trade Suggestion:
George Kottaras and Darwin Barney for RHP Alec Asher
Asher throws a low-mid 90s fastball along with a developing change up and slider, with the slider close to a plus pitch. He has the ceiling of a No. 4 starter and after putting up good numbers in High-A, he should land at double-A next year.
Other Rangers to keep an eye on:
RHP Kelvin Vasquez: A raw converted outfielder, Vasquez throw a low 90s fastball but needs work on his secondaries. Middle of the rotation upside, but a lot of work to do.
RHP Jose LeClerc: Possible starter, throws a mid-90s fastball, a developing curve ball and a funky slider.
I’ll be honest… I don’t see this deal happening because I don’t think the Rangers will be interested in giving up any of the guys listed above for Kottaras. And I don’t see the Cubs taking a guy in Double-A whose ceiling is a middle reliever, which is probably what the Rangers would offer. In other words, I only see the Rangers making this trade if they get desperate... and given Jon Daniels' comments this week about the Matt Garza trade, I doubt that he’s going to make another desperate trade with the Cubs.