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lukewarm stoveThe injuries keep piling up around baseball, and the Chicago Cubs’ relative health makes them a continued source of trade rumors.

The latest is yet another Rangers rumor (we probably could have noted a couple concerning the Jurickson Profar injury, too) tied to yet another Rangers injury. Former Cub Geovany Soto tore his meniscus, and is expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks at the start of the season. That has reportedly led them calling around baseball about replacement options, and Bruce Levine reports that one of those calls came to the Cubs about George Kottaras (metaphorically speaking, at least). Levine says the Rangers are “taking a hard look” at Kottaras.

Earlier today, when breaking down the Cubs’ roster situation, I said that the only way the Cubs would carry someone like John Baker, a catcher currently in camp on a minor league deal, is if there was an injury or trade. Well, perhaps the folks whispering that Baker could stick around knew that Kottaras’s name had come up in trade talks?

Unless the return is legitimately good, I’m not so sure I’m eager to see the Cubs deal Kottaras. Not only am I a fan of what he brings to the table (discipline, power, upside, and a second year of control after this year), but the Cubs are super thin in the upper levels on the catching side. I know, I know, 2014 is a punt year, and if you can capture value now, you do so. But Kottaras could be back next year (which may not be so punt-y), and the Cubs are one serious Welington Castillo injury away from a nightmare scenario behind the plate for the foreseeable future. (Also, I know it’s small, but there’s still a teeny, tiny chance for 2014. Kottaras feels like the kind of guy you keep in that situation, because it’s not like he’s going to return an overwhelming prospect package. And he’s not really easily replaceable internally.)

Now, I don’t want to overstate Kottaras’s value here. This is a guy whom the Cubs got for cash last Fall. That said, in a league where there’s virtually no offense available behind the plate, Kottaras can provide some. And, on a team like the Rangers, he represents a significant upgrade from where they are right now.

If the Cubs could, for example, package Kottaras with an infielder (to replace Profar temporarily) and pick up a legitimate pitching prospect, then, sure, you pull the trigger. I’m not sure the Cubs will find that level of deal available, though. One thing working in favor of a deal: these two teams have dealt with each other repeatedly over the last two years, so they know where the other stands on a number of prospects. Of course, maybe GM Jon Daniels isn’t too crazy about dealing with Theo and Jed after the way the Matt Garza deal turned out.

The Rangers are probably checking in with a lot of teams about a lot of players – catchers, infielders, pitchers – right now. This may be no more than a brief call to see what’s up, and nothing more comes of it.

  • Kyle

    Epstein, fearing that he did *too much* this offseason, works to remove from the roster one of his best pickups of the last few months.

    • JacqueJones

      I know you’re kidding, but from the sounds of this report, Epstein is merely picking up the phone, not necesarily even discussing a possible trade.

    • JulioZuleta

      I’ve been away for a while, but I should reiterate that your persistence is admirable.

  • Spoda17

    Yeah, I don’t think the report is Theo called the Rangers… I think they called the Cubs…

  • Spoda17

    Almora hitting .462 this spring… yummy…

  • jacos

    Theo asked if they had any third base prospects, laughs, hangs up phone.

    • WGNstatic

      …or a pitcher who won the minor league pitcher of the year at either the organizational level or in all of baseball.

  • Assman22

    Kottaras for PTBNL is what’s briefly been discussed…Rangers are meeting with Quintero tomorrow…Rangers not big on Barney but like Bonifacio to an extent…Cubs also like Bonifacio(veteran in locker room)…

    • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

      Bonifacio would get limited work with Olt at 3B displacing a lot of people. With him and Kottaras combined at a mere $1.8075M with another year of control for Kottaras, they could fetch a 10-20 prospect in their system. I’d be fine with Baker taking over the backup catching duties for a year (the way he has performed this Spring).

  • ibcnu2222

    I can’t imagine the Rangers having any prospects left other than Odor.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      They actually still have quite a few interesting guys left, although none of them would probably be in play for Kottaras

    • Mike S

      Jorge Alfaro, amazing looking Catching prospect probably gonna be in High A or AA this year

      • Mike S

        but he would cost a bit more then Kotteras

  • Spoda17

    Kattaras for Darvish… he’s injured, right up the Cubs alley…. fair trade

  • Big City Mick

    Hey Chad!!!

  • itzscott

    Did someone mention a trade with the Rangers??

    Hey, anytime….

    Always a pleasure doing business with them!

  • Big City Mick

    Trading Kottaras alone for a PTBNL doesn’t seem to make sense for the Cubs but packaging Bonifacio with a kicker like Christian Villanueva could possibly net us a Luke Jackson and some high ceiling, lower level prospects. But, I’ll leave that up to Theo and Jed, they seem to know the Rangers system pretty good, hehehe.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Stop. Just stop. Rangers aren’t going to trade Luke Jackson for a horsebleep package like that. They just aren’t.

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    Absolutely no need for the Cubs to trade Villanueva right now

  • Blackhawks1963

    Rangers picked up Chris Stewart. Between Arencibia and Stewart they already have filled their quota of Koyie Hill like catchers. Kottaras is the same crap as what they’ve got.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Chris Snyder, not Stewart.

      And, for the record, those guys are not even close to Kottaras.

      • ssckelley

        You are replying to a guy that has been dogging on Kottaras since the Cubs acquired him.

        I hate the thought of trading him as well. Like you mention in your article they are not going to get anything back of value anyway.

    • bbmoney

      Fun fact about JP Arencibia, he posted a .227 OBP last year in 497 PAs. Who does that while having a trend of declining ISOs and still gets a job the next year?

  • Blackhawks1963

    Looks like the Yankees will deal Cervilli very shortly.

  • Medicos

    I completely agree with u BlackHawks1963. I just observed the lousy throw that Kottaras made to 2nd base. He’s just another 2nd string Koyie Hill like catcher.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Kottaras is 100 times better on offense than Hill, it’s not even close to a valid comparison

      • Blackhawks1963

        A backup catcher exists to play good defense, throw out runners and work well with a pitching staff. Any hitting that he contributes is gravy. Koyie Hill types nearly always find employment in this league regardless their hitting.

        • Funn Dave

          Right, because if the starting catcher went down, a backup catcher who can play good defense and hit would contribute no more wins than a backup catcher who can play good defense and cannot hit….Wait a minute….

  • cubs2003

    I can’t think of a good reason to trade Kottaras right now unless you can package him and get a real return. For a PTBNL, no thanks. Even if you’re punting this year, you still need the team to function.

    • Spoda17

      agreed

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  • TulaneCubs

    For those shooting down the PTBNL idea, remember that 2013 draft picks have to be included as PTBNL right now.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Kottaras has a terrible arm and can’t hit, but alas he can take a walk based on insanely small sample size. Sorry but I don’t get the Kottaras love. He’s a very replaceable backup catcher on even his best day.

    • ssckelley

      “Insanely small sample size”? His last 335 big league plate appearance over the past 2 seasons has produced 61 walks for a .350 OBP. Oh and in those 335 plate appearances he has hit 14 home runs.

  • Funn Dave

    *insert generic joke expressing eagerness to trade with Rangers, because the Cubs are so pathetic that their fanbase has to resort to extrapolating one trade that worked out well for the Cubs into something at which it can poke fun*

    • Coop

      Two trades, thank you. Dempster deal was also good.

  • Praying For The Cubs To Win

    The Cubs should consider a really large trade, Kottaras, Barney and Shark, for Texas two best starting pitchers and catcher in their minors. At the trading deadline hey can always trade any of the three if their team is not making a push for the pennant.

  • jptopdog

    When is the last time Blackhawk has had any love for a Cubs player

    • Fishin Phil

      He was pretty big on Hack Wilson.

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