Royals

Royals send catcher George Kottaras to Cubs for cash considerations

Updated: 2013-11-27T06:40:23Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

The Royals found a new home Tuesday for veteran catcher George Kottaras by trading him to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.

Kottaras, 30, was designated for assignment Thursday to clear space on the 40-man roster after the Royals signed left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas to a four-year deal for $32 million.

The Royals chose to jettison Kottaras, who served last season as the backup to All-Star catcher Salvy Perez, by choosing to retain Brett Hayes and recently signed Francisco Peña.

“Want to thank the Royals for a memorable experience last year,” Kottaras said through his Twitter account shortly after the deal was announced. “Excited to be a part of the Cubs and make 2014 an amazing year.”

Despite denials by Royals officials, the move to designate Kottaras for assignment was widely viewed as a financial decision because he projects to make roughly $1.2 million through arbitration — at least $300,000 more than Hayes, who is also eligible for arbitration.

Peña is already signed to a deal for the $500,000 major-league minimum salary.

The Royals are hopeful their backup catcher, if Perez remains healthy, will start fewer than 30 games in 2014. They also believe Hayes and Peña are better defensive receivers than Kottaras.

While Kottaras batted just .180 last season in 46 games (18 for 100), he drew 24 walks and finished with a .349 on-base percentage. The only Royals with at least 100 at-bats to have a higher OBP were Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Emilio Bonifacio.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.

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