Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/14/14

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Casey Kotchman is an All-Star caliber player. I’m also not going to tell you that First Base is a position where offense doesn’t matter. But I will tell you that I have an appreciation for the guy that most others don’t.

Yesterday afternoon’s series finally with the Minnesota Twins was won by a Kotchman bases loaded RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning. He had three hits and drove in two runs to help the Indians avoid a series sweep at the hands of the team they are fighting with to stay out of the AL Central basement.

Kotchman’s numbers this season have been a disappointment, no doubt. He is hitting just .231/.285/.627 (all below his career averages) with 12 homers and 53 RBIs. These are coming off a .306/.378/.800 campaign in Tampa Bay. While the Indians tried desperately this offseason to find themselves a first baseman, their search dragged into February as they continued to swing and miss on choice after choice. In the end, they ended up with Kotchman, a high on-base percentage, gold glove type of player. It wasn’t exactly a signing that would register with fans or even move the needle in the MLB circles, but this is who they ended up with.

Looking back, while his offense has been worse than what we had hoped it would be, his glove has been better than advertised. In the clubhouse he is a well respected and liked veteran who does his best to lead by example. I still maintain that the Kotchman signing would have worked out better if the rest of the lineup that GM Chris Antonetti constructed did their jobs up to their ability. If Kotchman is batting eighth or ninth and playing this kind of defense, nobody would care about his offensive numbers.

However, the struggles of Carlos Santana, the inability of Shin-Soo Choo to hit lefties, the second half slowdowns from Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis, the absolute zero they have gotten from the third base position, and the injuries to Lonnie Chisenhall, Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore (yeah, I said it) have you wondering how the Indians could have a first baseman with such little pop.

As for next year, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Kotchman back in Wahoo Red, White, and Blue.

“I’d like to come back,” said Kotchman. “Unfortunately, I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain.”

Guys who did keep up their ends of the bargain yesterday were the back end of the bullpen crew. Corey Kluber went six innings giving up three runs on five hits. Manager Manny Acta then turned to the future of the Tribe pen, Cody Allen and Vinnie Pestano to hold the Twins at bay in a tie game. Both set up men did their jobs to get the ball to closer Chris Perez, who hasn’t been seen much lately considering the Indians aren’t playing many close games late. It looked as if Pure Rage would be on the hook for a loss in the ninth as Chris Herrmann took a pitch deep to right field with a man on. Vinny Rottino fought the sun the entire way and then made a leaping grab at the fence that saved at least a double. Perez would get out of the inning unscathed.

Esmil Rogers, one of the few bright spots in this season of cloudy skies, pitched a 1-2-3 10th, setting the stage for Kotchman’s heroics in the bottom of the frame.

“It was nice to see those four power arms,” Acta said, “back-to-back-to-back-to-back to shut them down at the end and give us an opportunity to win the game.”

Choo, pinch hitting for Rottino, doubled to start the inning. Kipnis moved him over to third base. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire then intentionally walked both Santana and Michael Brantley to get to Kotchman, who delivered the game winner.

“We felt good with Casey up there,” said Acta. “He was smoking the ball all day.”

So now the Indians hit the road for their last trip of the season. It is a six-gamer that starts tonight in Kansas City.

(photo via Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.