Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/16/11

For the second year in a row, Mark Kotsay has received a major league contract. The Padres agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.25 million with the 35-year-old (about to enter his age-36 season) on Tuesday.

For the second year in a row, Mark Kotsay does not deserve a spot on a major league roster — at least, not on his merits as a baseball player.

There was a time when Mark Kotsay was a very successful major league player. Crazily enough, much of Mark Kotsay’s productive career was spent with the Padres during the 2001-2003 seasons. Kotsay compiled 13.4 Wins Above Replacement in those seasons, largely on the back of a highly-rated glove in center field. His bat was by no means incompetent, as he posted an on-base percentage above .340 in all three seasons. His home run total of 34 over those three seasons hardly measures up with the high tides of the steroid era, but he still managed to add 36 batting runs above average in his time in San Diego.

Those times are now squarely in the past. Kotsay would have one more good year, his first with the Oakland Athletics in 2004, but his bat would soon collapse. After posting five straight seasons with an OBP above .340 from 2000-2004, his OBP has never risen above .332 since. His hitting has ranged from mediocre (a 95 wRC+ with Milwaukee last year) to bad (83 between the Red and White Sox in 2009) to horrible (49 with Oakland in 2007).

But Kotsay’s bat hasn’t been so consistently bad to rule him out as a major league player — he consistently makes enough contact to get on base at a palatable rate. The problem is the glove.

First of all, to ever believe that Kotsay had more than average talent, you needed to believe in his glove. Never once in his career did he post a batting runs above average total above 20 in a single season. His fielding numbers power many of his high WAR totals in San Diego as well as his initial successes in Florida. Observe:

1998: 3.7 WAR, +25.0 FLD
1999: 1.1 WAR, +14.0 FLD
2000: 2.7 WAR, +10.0 FLD
2001: 3.7 WAR, +7.0 FLD
2002: 5.2 WAR, +9.2 FLD
2003: 4.5 WAR, +20.0 FLD
2004: 4.0 WAR, +3.2 FLD

Since 2004, Kotsay’s age-28 season and his last above-average season in the majors, Kotsay has a UZR of -26, or about -4 runs per season. If Kotsay could still rely on the excellent glove that made him from a role player into a borderline star in the early part of the decade, he would be more than worth the major league contract — and more importantly, the roster spot — the Padres are promising. Having watched him all last year with the Brewers, I can plainly tell you: he fails the eye test as much as he fails the metric test. He made 35 look like the new 45 in the Brewers outfield.

However, the Padres probably aren’t going to be in a position to compete next year. By all accounts, Kotsay seems to be a pretty good clubhouse guy. If he basically fills the Matt Stairs role (except without the power bat) for them, possibly helping some of their young players acclimate to life in the majors, the investment could work out. Still, it just seems like $1.25 million and a roster spot are an awful lot to guarantee a voice in the clubhouse — and little else.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: K-State players storm student section after big win

Tony Dungy coaches his way into Canton

Top eight takeaways from NFL Honors awards

Report: Austin Rivers out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

Brett Favre Hall of Fame discussion took less than 10 seconds

WATCH: Pop wishes Kobe well in heartfelt message


Eric Berry named NFL Comeback Player of the Year

Cam Newton to be named NFL MVP

Ezekiel Elliott hung out with Jim Brown

Rickie Fowler taunted by fans over his ex-girlfriend

Roger Goodell speaks about future of Pro Bowl in annual address

Mike Krzyzewski provides an update on his health

Another star confirmed for Super Bowl 50 halftime show

WATCH: Wayne Simmonds loses his cool, earns match penalty

Winners and losers from 2016 Hall of Fame vote

Brett Favre, Tony Dungy headline Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Terrell Owens says he was not elected to Hall of Fame

Bruins prospect hit in throat with puck, taken to hospital

WATCH: Mavs rookie laughed at for trash talking Spurs bench

Norris Cole has No. 30 retired with LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans in attendance

Three keys to victory for the Broncos in Super Bowl 50

Torrey Smith: ‘This is probably the best offense’ for Kaepernick

Byron Scott thought D’Angelo Russell would be further along

Under-the-radar Super Bowl 50 matchups

Is Tim Lincecum's run with the San Francisco Giants done?

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker