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Royals trade Kottaras to Cubs for cash

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, at 3:42 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, at 3:22 p.m.

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 last 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 Pena.

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

Pena 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 Pena are better defensive receivers than Kottaras.

While Kottaras batted .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.

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