There is a certain ignominy that comes with winning Getting Blanked’s Man of the Year. It is not an honor bestowed upon the most deserving baseball player or even a person of high character who best exemplified greatness in their chosen field over the previous calendar year.
In both 2011 and 2012, the award went to a notably bad baseball player. 2013 is no different, as the highest honor ever created by me out of a need to publish something during the slowest week of the year doesn’t go to a hero. It goes to a bad player basically on his way out of professional baseball.
Getting Blanked’s 2013 Man of the Year is Casey Kotchman (formerly) of the Miami Marlins – for his noteworthy badness at the plate and his ongoing role as the personification of hope.
It doesn’t take too much to attract the attention of the Getting Blanked nomination committee. Come to the plate a dozen times or so and maybe don’t get a hit? Taking an O-fer on the year is the Holocaust Movie of the GBMOTY – pure academy bait.
Casey Kotchman most certainly went hitless in 2013, coming to the plate 21 times only to make an out every time – save one walk. The slick-fielding first baseman played the first two games of the year then missed two months with injury. Kotchman returned in June, played for a week, then went back on the 60-day DL only to be released by the Marlins in August.
21 plate appearances, 20 at bats, one walk, one strikeout, one double play grounded into, one RBI groundout, one forgettable season. Let’s relive his finest moment of the year, driving in Marcell Ozuna with a groundout against the Phillies.
This 11 inning game against the Phils was the high water mark for Kotchman’s season – not only did he drive in a run but he drew his only walk against Jonathan Pettibone as well, representing both positive WPA incidents of his season. Casey Kotchman joins a proud list of non-pitchers to go 0-20 or worse for a whole season since the 1994 work stoppage.
Is this the end of Casey Kotchman’s career? Hard to say. He is just 30-years old and two years removed from a downright productive year with the Tampa Bay Rays. It is this 2011 flash-in-the-pan season that allows “Casey Kotchman” to still resonant among those looking for a cheap first base option. Google news searches of Kotchman’s name don’t reveal much detail into his recent injury but it does produce all manner of “Casey Kotchman is another option for _______ to fill their first base void” articles. Everybody wants to believe lightning will strike the same place twice.
It is the 2+ WAR of 2011 that makes desperate folks think maybe — just maybe — he can rekindle that magic with their team. But such hope is a dangerous thing. Fondly remember the 2 Win year in Kotchman’s past yet effectively ignore the years below replacement level that bookend his one good year for the Rays. The cruel weight of hope invites disappointment by shielding its inevitability from view.
Casey Kotchman is the Getting Blanked Man of the Year for 2013 because of his exploits on the field and for serving as an enduring symbol of desperate hope for those scratching “minor league contract windfall” lottery tickets. Thank you, Casey, for all you did for us in 2013. All the best in 2014.