Kottaras was a fan favorite during his time in Milwaukee, though was better known as the security blanket for Randy Wolf. - Scott Boehm
George Kottaras filled two roles for the Brewers: Backup catcher and personal catcher for Randy Wolf. He had a chance to be more than that, but the emergence of another catcher would result in ending his tenure in Milwaukee.
MVBrewers is a player-by-player look at the most valuable members of the 2012 Brewers, as voted on by you. Here's our top ten:
The series now continues with Lesser Brewers, to cover some of the remaining Brewers that we have not covered so far. This is the third installment in that segment. The series will continue tomorrow with the fourth of the Lesser Brewers. You can see all the player profiles in the Most Valuable Brewers 2012 section.
Very few people had expectations for George Kottaras beyond being the type of player he was: a backup catcher. He had been a good backup for Jonathan Lucroy in 2011, and his bat helped keep the offense going on his off days. Expectations weren't much different for 2012, but it wouldn't be long before he found himself replaced in the Brewers organization.
His season got off to a strong start with a good April. In his limited time, he hit .303/.515/.739 with 3 HR and 9 RBI. However, with Jonathan Lucroy entrenched as the starter, his action was limited mainly to starts with Randy Wolf and some pinch hit appearances. He would eventually cool off with a .130/.375/.130 line in May. When Jonathan Lucroy went down with his hand injury, he had a chance to earn more playing time. While his time did increase, he didn't take full advantage of the opportunity. Plus, with the emergence of Martin Maldonado, he remained a bench player. He hit .250/.417/.357 in June, and dropped off to .083/.214/.083 in July.
Of course, as we all know, one of the defining characteristics for Kottaras was that he was the personal catcher for Randy Wolf. Of his 25 starts, 20 of them came on days that Randy Wolf started, which is all of Wolf's starts while Kottaras was with the Brewers. This was a point of controversy among many as the season went on. As Wolf struggled, questions started coming out about whether or not Wolf should lose his personal catcher. Plus, Kottaras would sometimes draw matchups that were not strong for him, and the platoon was seen as hurting the offense a little. Regardless of the criticism, the starting battery of Wolf & Kottaras remained in place.
His tenure as a Brewer came to an end once Jonathan Lucroy was ready to return from his injury. He was designated for assignment on July 26th, then traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 29th for reliever Fautino De Los Santos. Of course, this trade allowed him to be a part of a playoff team as he helped the Athletics make a push into the MLB postseason.
On April 17, George Kottaras only got one at-bat, but he made it count. The Brewers were down 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the ninth with two baserunners when George Kottaras was called to pinch hit. He sent a ball to deep right center field for a walk-off double that scored both runners, and the Brewers won the game 5-4. Here is a video of that big hit:
George Kottaras is now with the Oakland Athletics and will be entering his first year of arbitration in 2013. If the team keeps him through his arbitration years, he won't be a free agent until 2016.