Mark Kotsay’s brief stint with the Brewers came to an end Tuesday, with veteran outfielder agreeing to a one-year, $1.25 million deal with his hometown San Diego Padres.
This seems like a good time to admit that I was probably too hard on the guy from the start. I preferred Chris Dickerson and Jody Gerut over him at the time. The solution to every roster crunch was “DFA Kotsay.” Yet he made it through the season.
In retrospect, he wasn’t terrible for what he was. If you wanted a lefty to pinch-hit with little-to-no power, he was serviceable. If you wanted someone to make meaningful at-bats or start in centerfield, like say during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, he probably wasn’t the best choice.
And really, that’s the thing with Kotsay. Most people were actually upset with Ron Roenicke’s usage of him, not with Kotsay himself. Sure, Kotsay isn’t a very good player anymore — right around replacement level — but it was Roenicke’s insistence on playing him in centerfield just to get him into the lineup that had most of the Brewers blogosphere up in arms.
Every year, it seems like Doug Melvin likes to buy low on a veteran outfielder. Gabe Kapler, Frank Catalanotto, and Jim Edmonds all worked out to be very good deals. Kotsay didn’t. He seems like a nice enough guy, and considering his professional reputation, it isn’t a surprise he keeps finding work.
Perhaps in a perfect world, he’d be the type of forgettable low-cost signing that just didn’t work out. Unfortunately, Kotsay’ll probably be remembered for years for this:
Jeff Suppan in Game 4 of the 2008 NLDS. Mark Kotsay in Game 3 of the NLCS. Like Suppan, it’s not Kotsay’s fault he was put in that situation, but he’ll be remembered more for his failure there than the handful of times he proved to be useful during the regular season.