Five Potential Trade Destinations for Casey Kotchman

The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline gets on the attention, but there’s another big day coming up soon. Major League teams can still make trades through the end of the season so long as the players involved pass through waivers first. But if buyer clubs wants their new players to be eligible to make playoff rosters, they have to acquire them on or before August 31. That’s Friday.

If the Indians’ front office executives haven’t already been manning the phones like crazy this week, they should start soon. At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, now that the 2012 season is all but over anyone currently on the Tribe’s roster who isn’t part of their plans for 2013 and beyond should be on the trading block. In particular, Cleveland would be better off getting anything in return for any impending free agents whom they plan to let walk for nothing this winter anyway.

I’ve argued previously that the Tribe’s top priority among potentially tradable players this week should be Casey Kotchman. He’s signed to a one-year deal and there’s no chance he’d net the Indians a compensation draft pick this winter, and as a highly regarded defender with good contact skills he could hold some appeal for a contender looking for a complementary piece for the stretch run.

So where might Kotchman go? Here’s a list of a five teams who might be interested in bringing him on the final month of the season.

  • Detroit Tigers: The Tigers already have two of the best first basemen in baseball in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. But the former is playing third base, and despite his name the latter is one of the worst fielders in baseball. Kotchman would give the Tigers a solid glove off the bench who could come in as a defensive replacement for Fielder to help preserve leads late in the game.
  • New York Yankees: The Yankees have the second-best record in the league, but they’ve got two teams within five games of them in the AL East and a strained calf will keep first baseman Mark Teixeira out for perhaps two weeks. Kotchman could step in in Teixeira’s absence and take the pressure off of him until he gets back.
  • Baltimore Orioles: New York isn’t the only AL East team who might be a fit for Kotchman. Baltimore already has a capable first baseman in Mark Reynolds, but he’s on par with Prince Fielder defensively. The Orioles could stand to add a steadier glove to their arsenal as they try to hold onto a wild card spot.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates: Pirates first basemen have getting on base at below a .300 clip this year and are OPSing just .701. The NL Central title is now probably out of reach for Pittsburgh, but a wild card spot is still a possibility; a first baseman with a great glove would help them get there. Plus Kotchman would actually be an offensive upgrade over Gaby Sanchez.
  • Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena is hitting .188 and his OPS is under .660. Might the Rays be interested in bringing their 2011 first baseman back for the pennant run

    Who will Casey Kotchman be playing for on September 1?

    • Indians (48%, 32 Votes)
    • Rays (22%, 15 Votes)
    • Yankees (15%, 10 Votes)
    • Someone else (6%, 4 Votes)
    • Pirates (4%, 3 Votes)
    • Orioles (3%, 2 Votes)
    • Tigers (2%, 1 Votes)

    Total Voters: 67

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Tags: Casey Kotchman Cleveland Indians

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