Hold on, a paragraph from a post on this very here wire needs to be pasted.
"The first, the Indians could still go out and get Casey Kotchman if he continues to dangle out there without a team, and they could get him for cheap. Unfortunately it sets up the same situation for Canzler this year that he had in Tampa last year."
Yes, just a few days ago the Indians acquired Russ Canzler in exchange for cash from the Tampa Bay Rays. The immediate thought is that Canzler would compete for the first base job.
He could still do that, but after the Indians just agreed to terms with free agent Casey Kotchman, his road just got a little more difficult.
The Indians have been searching for that first baseman this offseason and have finally landed him in Kotchman. The deal is a reported $3 million for 2012 with incentives, making it a rather cheap pick-up for the Tribe.
Kotchman has spent most of his time in Los Angeles playing for the Angels, having his best year in 2007 when he hit .296 with a .372 on-base percentage. A year later the Angels traded him to Atlanta and a year later the Braves traded him to Boston. He spent 2010 in Seattle and then wound up signing a minor league deal in Tampa last year.
It was a bit of a return to form in Tampa where he eventually took over first base and hit above .300, slugged .422 and had an on-base percentage of .378, higher than his number in 2007. Kotchman's biggest asset though is his glove.
Matt LaPorta's career slugging number? .397.... Kotchman only has 29 more home runs in his career with eight years of experience. When you can't out-slug someone like Kotchman, maybe you don't deserve the first base job.
Paying someone a guaranteed salary that is as high as Kotchman's likely means that that player is going to get first crack at that job, if not have it all to himself. Kotchman can play first, a good first, which means the Indians have quite the solid defensive infield at the corners in Hannahan and Kotchman, and a stellar glove up the middle in Asdrubal Cabrera.
With Derek Lowe adding on to ground-baller Justin Masterson, perhaps it would off-set any potential lack of offense.
What made this signing possible? Heck, what took so long? If Prince Fielder signed quicker, maybe Kotchman would have signed quicker himself. The market for first baseman was Pujols, Prince, and then... everyone else. But everyone else technically should have not bothered signing because who knows, if a team missed out on Prince or Pujols, maybe they'd call up one of those other players.
Carlos Pena was also ahead of Kotchman, and he took a nice little one-year deal with Tampa himself after saying no to the Indians. Leaving Kotchman as the best option on the market and for the Indians, the right fit at the right price.
Much has been made about Kotchman's eye surgery that helped him re-plant his career with the Rays in 2011. If that's the case, then great, it's one less thing you have to worry about in signing Kotchman. Was it a fluke year? Maybe. Maybe the eye surgery worked and the Indians didn't quite get themselves the same bargain that Tampa did, but they sure as heck got a pretty good one.
One thing I do know... Russ Canzler is likely weeping somewhere and soon, he'll be weeping in Columbus.
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