Apparently, until Cliff Lee decides whose uniform he wants to wear for the next few years, not a whole lot else is going to get done in the baseball world. Lee's decision had been expected by today, but it appears he's going to require a little more time.
While we wait on his decision, let's take another look at the Nationals' first base sweepstakes. I know we've dwelled on it quite a bit recently, but there's another angle we haven't discussed.
Real quick, who's the top fielding first baseman on the market? If you guessed Casey Kotchman, you'd be right. Kotchman, already a journeyman at 27, is a wizard with the glove. Offensively, though, he takes a back seat to a lot of his peers. In 2008, his only season as a true regular - more than 550 plate appearances - he put up decent numbers: .272, 14 homers, 74 RBIs. Last year at Seattle, in a big ballpark, he hit just .217-9-51, on a bad ballclub. Defensively, though, Kotchman committed just one error in 1,021 chances. Very impressive.
Is it possible that the Nationals might go after Kotchman for a lefty-right first base platoon with Michael Morse? They'd like to get Morse 450 plate appearances in 2011; maybe he could swing between first and the outfield, depending on the opponent's pitcher.
Kotchman, like Adam LaRoche, comes from a baseball family. His dad, Tom Kotchman, has scouted and managed in the Angels farm system for years.
Just thinking out loud here, but I could see Kotchman providing a relatively low-cost option for the Nats if the LaRoche situation doesn't play out.