No Room for Kotchman on Rays Roster
The Rays are stacked deep at almost every position except first base. The same question is always brought up: Who will play firstbase for the Rays in 2011? Will it be the unproven Dan Johnson? How about using Ben Zobrist but at the expense of his valuable glove playing 2B and RF? I laugh at those who mention Leslie Anderson. But one other choice that is brought up is Casey Kotchman, and one thing is for sure he does not belong on a contending team as a starting firstbaseman.
Kotchman has had four seasons in his career with at least 125 games played and over 430 plate appearances. Only once in those four seasons has he posted a BB% higher than 9%, a wRC above league average, an OPS+ above league average, and a wOBA above .325. In fact, his stats have declined to the point where last year he was worth -1.1 fWAR and -0.9 rWAR. Take a look at his declining stats:
Even his “bread-n-butter” defense was of negative value last season and if you were to take the average of those four seasons you would get a firstbaseman that would hit .264/.331/.401 with a 95 OPS+ and 1.2 rWAR and 1.25 fWAR, and there is no reason to believe Kotchman could put those numbers up in the AL East after declining each of the past three seasons.
The Rays will be best served by giving the firstbase job to Dan Johnson and letting Joe Maddon use the versatile Ben Zobrist to back him up, thus allowing Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce to get playing time at their respected positions. Having Kotchman on the roster kills the chances of Rodriguez and Joyce finding ample playing time. There simply is no room for Kotchman on the Rays roster.