George Kottaras could be major asset in 2014


Feb 14, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs catcher

George Kottaras

(9) during camp at Chicago Cubs training facility at Mesa . Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs baseball will finally be on the air in just a couple of weeks. With Pitchers and catchers already getting their workouts in, the rest of the crew showed up today and will participate in their first full team workout.

A couple of the guys were playing a friendly game of ‘HORSE’ at the brand new Spring Training complex today, which was pretty fun to watch.

I didn’t actually watch, but someone posted a couple Vines of Ryan Sweeney and a couple other players playing. Now we have many positions and players that we will need to watch this year, but one that needs to stand out is back up catcher George Kottaras.

He’s replacing Dioner Navarro, a catcher who had himself a career year while coming off the bench behind Welington Castillo. Navarro signed with the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason.

I don’t really expect Kottaras to put up the numbers that Navarro did a year ago, but he should still play an important role for this team.

Not only will he become a decent back up for Welington Castillo behind the plate, but he could also get a couple starts at first base whenever Anthony Rizzo needs some rest.

He hasn’t played the position as much in his career, but when he did he’s been flawless defensively.

Kottaras is a career .214/.324/.370 hitter with 29 home runs and 96 RBIs  in 692 career at-bats. The 30-year-old lefty could get at least five or seven starts at first base and around 10 or so behind the plate.

His role could increase if something were to happen (knock on wood) to either Castillo or Rizzo. He is a career .991 fielder as a catcher with 13 errors in his five years in the Majors.

Baserunners have been able to outrun him, which could be worked on during Spring Training workouts. But when it comes down to it, I think Kottaras will step up and deliver when he’s called upon.

Just going to be weird seeing him running around with number nine on the back of his uniform. It makes me miss guys like Juan Pierre, Jake Fox, Reed Johnson, Blake DeWitt, David DeJesus and Paul Bako.

Just wake me up when the season starts.

What do you think Cubs fans? Do you see Kottaras having a big year with the Cubbies this year? Or will he become a bust?