|Sox Will Tender a Contract to Kotchman||12.11.09 at 12:18 pm ET|
While there had been some speculation that the Red Sox might choose not to tender a contract to Casey Kotchman by Saturday’s deadline to do so, multiple major-league sources say that the Red Sox have absolutely no plans to part ways with the first baseman. Kotchman, who earned $2.885 million in 2009 and became a backup option at first base for the Red Sox after they acquired him from the Braves for Adam LaRoche at the trade deadline, hit .218 with a .284 OBP, .287 slugging mark and .572 OPS in 39 games (many as a defensive replacement) for the Sox. On the year, he hit .268/.339/.382/.721 with his two teams.
But Kotchman’s defense is well-regarded, and as recently as 2007, he had a .372 OBP and .840 OPS. Assuming that the deal sending Mike Lowell to the Rangers goes through, he is at least a possibility to start at first base, with Kevin Youkilis going to third, should the Sox not make a move to acquire a corner infielder such as Adrian Beltre.
The 26-year-old is eligible for salary arbitration. When tendered a contract for 2010, there is a good likelihood that he would receive a small bump in salary for next year.
While Sox GM Theo Epstein suggested during the Winter Meetings that the Sox have one candidate not to be tendered a contract for the 2010 season, that player is apparently not Kotchman (suggesting that outfielder Brian Anderson is the one on whom a decision must likely be made). Decisions on which players under team control (meaning those without a contract for 2010 but less than six years of major-league service time) must be made by Saturday.
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