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Kotsay it Ain't So

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The latest centerfield option du jour for the Braves is apparently the Oakland Athletics' Mark Kotsay. ESPN is reporting that sources say the Braves have reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Kotsay in exchange for Joey Devine. Oakland also sends a little over $5 million of the $7-plus million Kotsay is owed this year.

This is really one of those trades that has me thinking, "yuck." I'm not terribly excited about him, and I'm not happy surrendering Devine. Kotsay's career has been taking a turn in the wrong direction as these trends show:

Year OPS RC/G
2004 .829 6.5
2005 .746 4.6
2006 .718 4.2
2007 .575 2.7

Granted he was injured in 2007, so one would expect those stats to be off his career norms, but a closer look shows us that his 2005 and 2006 seasons were below his career average.

For whatever reason, baseball people have always thought of Mark Kotsay in a higher regard than his stats at the end of each year tell us. In looking at his fielding stats they don't really blow you away, but they're not terrible by any means. So maybe his ability as a centerfielder adds value to his overall package.

I find it interesting that Frank Wren let news of this possible trade slip out, or even if it came out of the Beane camp I find it interesting that Wren spoke to the fact that a trade was in the works. This is a bit of a different stance than the hard line stance of never talking about possible trades during the John Schuerholz era.

If we must find a silver lining it is that with Kotsay as opposed to Anderson or Blanco we would at least have a little bit more of a known quantity in the centerfield position, as well as someone with more power. Kotsay is also a player who will bring a lot of intensity when he steps on the field - something the Braves need more of on their team.

Losing Devine will anger plenty of fans, and it is a large gamble for a one-year rental of a centerfielder. I said above that I think this trade is kind of yucky, but perhaps it's one of those where we just have to trust the guy(s) making the decisions.