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Yesterday, the Sox released catcher Josh Bard and decided to ostensibly hand the job of catcher-to-Wake to George Kottaras. At the risk of being "that guy", I must say that I called this one months ago and even asked the folks at the Globe why they weren't talking about this. They didn't respond - and I wasn't able to post my nah nah nah comment on their blogs yesterday either. So let me revel in my righteousness here.

On Nov. 3 of last year, I wrote this to Nick Carado, linking to this post of mine:
Nick - has anyone talked about whether the Sox could re-sign Jason Varitek and ask him to take on knuckleball duties next year? This would allow a young catcher to get his feet wet on a team with Tek, while not having to catch Wake (a la Josh Bard).
Then, on Feb. 3 - I guess I feel righteous indignation on the third day of the month - I wrote Tony Massaroti an email entitled "Bard vs. Kottaras":
Hey Mazz,

My question/comment is about the back up catcher position. I don't understand why you and Cafardo imply that Josh Bard has the leg up. Assuming the Sox don't complete a trade, it seems that Bard is the worst choice among Brown, Kottaras and Wagner. With Varitek back in the fold, why do we want Bard - a thirty year old who can't hit lefty, is average defensively and obviously is not popular with Sox fans - as Tek's understudy? That would be another year of not moving forward in developing a replacement for Tek. It seems the favorite would be Kottaras who is out of options, bats lefty with power and must have some skills since we traded David Wells for him. Wagner and Brown are defensive studs who seem to have Kevin Cash-like bats, but at least they're 24 and 26 years old respectively - and don't cost millions like Bard. There hasn't been much reporting on your site about what the scouts say about these three, which seems to presuppose either a trade or Bard. What's the deal here?


P.S. Any talk about having Varitek catch Wake then splitting the other 4 starters either by assignment or by lefty/righty platoon?
While my self-righteousness is coursing through me, I thought I would nonetheless see if I had my facts straight, that the Globe had in fact dropped the ball on this. I found a good article I hadn't seen from Feb. 15 by Amalie Benjamin covering the backup catcher competition - where she does say Bard is the favorite. Tito told her: "Josh Bard is certainly the veteran of the group. We have some history with him. We know him. You have Dusty and George that have been together in Triple A. We know George is out of options. We definitely need to take this six, seven weeks that we have down here, and try to get a better understanding of where we are with all three of those guys."

Lastly, a few things about Kottaras I haven't seen elsewhere: he grew up play fastpitch softball in Canada rather than baseball, which could help him wield the big knuckleball mit. He was traded to the Sox for David Wells so he must have been considered a decent prospect. He has power and a good eye. points out: "while his arm is strong, his throwing motion still lacks quickness, and he only throws about 20% of runners out. Good at blocking balls in the dirt, and gets to bunts and fly balls well. "

The point is that this is the best move for the Sox team this year, in the future, for the fans (who will never support Bard), and for the team finances. I'm just not sure why this wasn't more obvious once 'Tek was signed.


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