As first reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the St. Louis Cardinals have claimed veteran catcher George Kottaras on waivers. The 31-year-old Canadian was a former top prospect of the San Diego Padres, but he’s never really delivered on the potential in the majors, hitting .216 over seven big-league seasons.
Kottaras has been a journeyman backup, and the Cardinals will be his sixth big-league club. He’s had two stints with the Cleveland Indians so far in 2014, and he’s performed very well at the plate in limited opportunities, hitting .286/.385/.714 with three homers in 21 at-bats. Obviously that’s not in line with his typical production, as his previous best season slash line was a .252/.311/.459 over 111 at-bats in 2011, but those numbers do suggest that maybe he can provide a little bit of offense as a backup to Tony Cruz. For now, Kotarras will be a nice veteran presence and a capable alternative to Cruz, but it’s still possible that the Cardinals could go after a catcher who is a proven starter, such as Minnesota’s Kurt Suzuki, in a trade at a later date.
Presumably, Audry Perez will be returned to Triple-A after being recalled to fill Yadier Molina‘s roster spot yesterday, but an official roster move has yet to be announced. The Cardinals will also have to remove two players from the 40-man roster today to clear space for Kotarras and starting pitcher Joe Kelly, who will be activated from the 60-day disabled list. Injured relief pitcher Keith Butler and minor-league outfielders Shane Robinson, Mike O’Neill and Rafael Ortega would seem to be the primary candidates to be designated for assignment.