Only moments after alluding to it on his 1010 AM interview, it appears Andrew Friedman signed a first baseman to a minor league deal. According to MLBTR, the Rays have signed former Mariner Casey Kotchman, a defensive whiz who bats like his wrists are broken. Of course, a defensive whiz at first base is kind of like a genius weightlifter -- the extra trait doesn't really help all the much.
That being said, Kotchman's defense has saved quite a few runs over his career and it single-handedly made him almost a 2-win player in 2008. In reality though, his bat makes him very much a Travis Lee clone and therefore Dan Johnson insurance at best.
Last season was really rough on ol' CK: He played for the Mariners -- which is bad enough -- but he also had a putrid .217/.280/.336 line, good for a 66 wRC+ (or 7th worst among players with 400+ PAs). However, Bill Petti's Batter Regress Tool suggests Kotchman should and would return to his league average ways:
Heyman reports Kotchman's deal to be worth $750K plus incentives, and as a minor league deal, I expect it means we will not see him unless Johnson asplodes. And, honestly, if the unthinkable happens and Johnson turns in pumpkin pie, then Cotchman and his glove aught offer at least 1 WAR and plenty for the Eye-Heads* to ogle over.
*If I'm allowed to be called a stat-head, then I reserve the right to call others Eye-Heads.
In other news, the Rays also snatched the family-sized Twins reliever Rob Delaney on the waiver wire. A righty with middle relief written all over him, Delaney has -- by rule -- been added to the 40 man roster and could provide yet another no-name arm to assemble another Friedman'd Frankenstein Bullpen.
For more on Delaney, check R.J. Anderson's write up on The Process Report:
At 6’3", 230 or so, Delaney is a large fellow with plenty of hips to rotate. He went undrafted and can grow a fabulous mustache, suggesting that, if nothing else, he’ll take Dale Thayer’s role in fuzzy-lipped relief pitcher purgatory.