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Giants sign catcher George Kottaras to minor-league deal

The left-handed hitter has a good eye, but he hasn't played much in the majors in the last two seasons.

Rich Pilling/Getty Images

The Giants are almost certainly set with their catching depth. Buster Posey is a secret identity that we're lucky enough to watch every day. Andrew Susac is defensively and offensively capable in a way that a lot of starting catchers aren't, and Trevor Brown looks like a defense-first catcher with promising backup potential. Hector Sanchez is out of the organization partly because there just wasn't room for him.

That doesn't mean that there isn't room for more depth, though. And the Giants just gave a minor-league deal to George Kottaras, who makes sense in a lot of ways. He's a rare creature, considering that he's: a) a left-handed catcher who b) can hit a little bit and c) isn't the smug love child of a turkey vulture and a double play, like A.J. Pierzynski. Kottaras will be 33 next year, but he's hasn't posted an OPS below .700 in any season since 2009, when he had a .696 OPS with the Red Sox. Back in the mid-2000s, he would have been the saber-darling catcher we dreamed about.

That written, there are serious caveats. He'll be 33, which is like 40 in catcher years. He's had just 261 at-bats between Triple-A and the majors over the last two seasons, and he hasn't appeared in the majors since 2014. There's a reason he's on a minor-league deal instead of finishing up a $30 million contract as a long-term solution somewhere. If he had proven that he could sustain a career 98 OPS+ for 450 at-bats, he wouldn't be in the Giants' organization.

Do you want even-year signs, though? You want even-year signs. The last time he was in the National League, here's how it ended:


Signed C-L A.J. Pierzynski; designated C-L George Kottaras for assignment.

Hot dang, that's the setup to a Liam Neeson movie, filled with revenge and woe. Say this in an Inigo Montoya voice:

Remember that catcher you released to add A.J. Pierzynski in 2014, Cardinals? He's up with the bases loaded in the NLCS, and the year is divisible by two.

Oh, it would be a special moment. But, of course, Kottaras is unlikely to make the majors with the Giants this year unless something substantial goes wrong. Or unless the Giants have already agreed in principle to a deal that sends Andrew Susac to the Braves for ... no, the Reds for ... actually, the Phillies for ... dammit why don't any of these teams have anything the GIants might actually want?

Regardless of the odds against Kottaras, he's still more interesting than the typical catcher teams stash in Triple-A, no offense to Guillermo Quiroz. And Jeremy Koo of Athletics Nation was quick to remind me that Kottaras has a delightful sense of fashion, so there's just so, so much to look forward to this season.

Are you excited about depth? I'm excited about depth. Now that I'm finished, I'll go work on an article about depth in the infield. Welcome to January. (But good job on this depth, Giants.)