M’s Maybe To Trade For Kotchman
Buster Olney, among others, reports that the M’s are “expected” to acquire Casey Kotchman from the Red Sox for a minor leaguer.
Kotchman is a +1 to +1.5 win, 27-year-old first baseman whose value mostly comes from his contact skills and defense. He’s a Zduriencik kind of player – left-handed, patient approach, good defensively, young-ish with upside, coming off a poor year where his value is low. He’s got some value, and he’s certainly better than what the team already had in guys like Mike Carp.
What he’s not, however, is a big powerful thumper who is going to hit 30+ home runs. He’s a gap power guy whose ISO has declined each of the last two years, to the point where he’s been a below average hitter for the past two years. We talked about how power wasn’t utterly necessary with a guy like Chone Figgins or Nick Johnson because they did so many other things well, but Kotchman isn’t at that level. He has a good approach at the plate, but he’s not a 100 walk guy. He’s a good defender, but not a great one. He doesn’t run particularly well. So, given those other skills, he has to drive the ball to be a good player. And he hasn’t done it with regularity in a couple of years.
He’s worse than the Overbay/Branyan/LaRoche types by about +0.5 to +1 win per season. He’s cheaper, and younger, and healthier, but not as good. There are reasons to think he’s got some upside to maybe get to that +2 to +2.5 win level, but you can’t expect it, not after what he’s done the last two years. You hope for it, but you don’t count on it.
As a player, he’s kind of like Ryan Langerhans or Jack Hannahan. He’s a good role player, but you could do better. Unless the M’s are just out of money and can’t get any of the better free agents to sign here for what they’re offering, this is a bit of a curious move.
Update: Ken Rosenthal says Bill Hall is going to Boston in the deal. Interesting.