Four days ago, Milwaukee Brewers Catcher George Kottaras was designated for assignment. Yesterday, the deal went through that would send the 28 year-old to the Oakland Athletics.
The Kottaras deal is essentially a nod from Milwaukee to Kottaras about the caliber player they think he is. They made sure when making the deal that Kottaras would have the chance to start regularly on a Major League team rather then spedn any more time in AAA ball. Ron Roenicke said this about the catcher:
“George is a major league catcher…To think about what he’s done for us last year and this year, and for him to have to go back to Triple A, that would bother me. …We were playing him every fifth day. … Hopefully he’ll get some more at-bats. I think the less amount of at-bats you get, the possibility of it going bad is very likely.”
– Ron Roenicke, via Foxsportswisconsin.com
That can certainly said of George Kottaras’s season – after starting out on a tear off the bench, hitting .304 in April with 25 at-bats, he slumped through May, June and July to settle his season average at .209. If regular playing time were to be a benefit for George, it will come right away in Oakland where he is splitting time with struggling veteran Kurt Suzuki, and it appears that Oakland thinks they got the better end of the deal.
For Milwaukee, Fautino De Los Santos has an immediate need to show some promise in AAA Nashville. He has had a shade over 36 innings of work in the Majors since being drafted in 2006, but he’s struggled with command since the 2008 season that has had him up and down throughout the minor leagues and the Majors. This year, in only six appearances for the A’s he has given up seven hits and one earned run, while walking and striking out three batters during that span. The Brewers are hoping for some kind of consistency out of him before he moves up to the parent club.
De Los Santos is out of Minor League options after next year, so if he’s going to land on the Major
League club he needs to do it now. The pressure to perform is squarely on his shoulders for this deal to really work out in favor for the Brewers.
The odd part of this whole deal is the new acquisition of Humberto Quintero, the 32 year-old with 10 years of Major League experience who is just now settling in to a role as a Nashville Sounds catcher. It’s odd because it seemed like the reason the Kottaras deal was so appealing was that the team didn’t need three catchers, and that we would be able to net some soon-to-be-up talent in his place. Another long-time player, especially at a position filled at the Major League level, seems extraneous. There is the idea that a veteran catcher can help get prospect pitchers more prepared to make the jump to the Show, but overall I don’t think that holds water.
I think it was another example of the Brewers trying to make something happen with more ‘veteran leadership’ as opposed to taking a chance on a young bat. I don’t think it will work out.
I do think, however, that the trade for De Los Santos will end up looking good for both sides. De Los Santos needs a little bit of work, but he’s got raw talent enough to loan and some more time in AAA will be good for him. At this point, it’s not like there’s a lot left to lose in trying to shore up that bullpen.