As I'm watching the Royals game today while nursing a hangover only Cinco de Mayo can produce, up strolls George Kottaras. It's only the second time I've seen him at the dish and I'm elated to see him draw a high-leverage base on balls. The bat never left his shoulder. I hadn't paid much attention to the acquisition of George, because let's face it, he's destined to ride pine until the inevitable Perez injury. However, a buddy of mine suggested recently that he's one of the best back-up catchers in baseball. After observing the sample size of just two at-bats, I completely agree.
Kansas City has been deprived of patient hitting for a quarter of a century. Only one time since 1985 have the Royals ranked in the top 50% for team walks. Perhaps I over-value the almighty walk, but to me, this is the biggest red flag of a losing baseball team. I think a very compelling argument can be made that a walk is more valuable than a single, based solely on the effect--mentally and physically--it has on the issuing pitcher.
Now, I realize this is kind of an absurd idea (especially since I am basing it on two AB's and using walks as the primary barometer), but I would rather see Kottaras in right field than Frenchy. I hate Francoeur more than anything else in entertainment (how much can you really hate an entertainer?), so in order to satisfy my fantasy of seeing him pushing carts at Costco (and outside of moving Cain to right and playing Dyson in center), I had to get creative in my thought bubbles. And hell, what would baseball be without ludicrous hypotheses?
Think about it: wouldn't you rather see Kottaras take a disciplined walk instead of Frenchy rolling a first-pitch-hacking groundout to short? Would you trade the occasional outfield assist to 3rd for the slight uptick in poor route-running? Francoeur is such a bad baseball player, I really don't think it's any question this would be an upgrade. Not to mention, Kottaras, having been born in Canada, is legitimately more French than Frenchy himself. The "Frenchy Quarter" promotion could go on.
Kottaras turns 30 this month, and believe it or not, he has logged 2.0 innings in the outfield in his major league career, so although he almost certainly wouldn't be proficient, he very well may be capable. If I was the manager of this roster, I'd give him a look.
Over their careers, this is how they compare using OPS/SLG/OPS+:
Jeff Francoeur: .309/.734/93
George Kottaras: .321/.736/97
Assuming the "walk is better than the single" argument, the fantastic, proverbial nail in Frenchy's coffin comes in contrasting walk rates. Kottaras has a 13.2% career walk rate, and Jeff boasts an impressively terrible 5.1%.
Oh, and hindsight is 20/20, but let us not forget that George makes $5 million less than that grinning, nut-tapping, popcorn thief.
I'm no expert, but I am a fan, so I can dream. What are your thoughts on my outlandish idea?