After being designated for assignment last Thursday to make room for Jason Vargas, George Kottaras has been traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations. Also, minor league veteran Irving Falu was released after he was designated for assignment on November 20th, prior to the Royals adding four players to their 40 man roster.
Since he was out of options, the backup catcher position was going to be between Kottaras and Brett Hayes, and the Royals decided to move forward with Hayes. Reportedly, the move to cut ties with Kottaras was decided in part due to financial restraints, since his projected $1.3 million salary was apparently far more than the team could afford. Obviously I don’t buy that explanation, since the difference in salary between Kottaras and Hayes is likely less than $500K, a very insignificant amount.
I tend to think that Kottaras’ skillset just wasn’t valued as highly by the Royals, which is why him landing with the Cubs – a very forward-thinking organization – is no surprise whatsoever. In Chicago, Kottaras will be battling to win the backup catcher job behind Welington Castillo.
As for Falu, he was impressive in his short stint with the big league club in 2012, posting a line of .341/.371/.435 in 91 plate appearances. However, the acquisition of other utility players and his slow start in 2013 pushed him to the bottom of the depth chart. Falu being 30 years old didn’t help him, either, so the Royals felt it best to part ways, and honestly, it’s probably better for Falu as well. He’s a player who doesn’t do anything exceptionally well, but he does many things well enough to earn a chance with another team. I always enjoyed watching Falu in Omaha, and he was incredibly friendly with all of the fans there, so I definitely hope he gets a shot to have more success.