posted 8 years ago
TAMPA, Fla. -- Under slightly different circumstances, we might now be celebrating Mark Kotsay the way we celebrated Bobby Kielty or, before him, Dave Roberts and Doug Mientkiewicz. Not so long ago, Kotsay was leading a relatively futile existence with the Atlanta Braves. Now, he has become an integral part of the Red Sox' quest for another world title.
And were it not for the efforts of Mark Teixeira, who began this season sharing a clubhouse with Kotsay in Atlanta, we might again be asking the question of how Kotsay ended up here at all.
"What was I thinking? That my former teammate just took away my game-winning hit," Kotsay said earlier this week, after Teixeira's diving stab temporarily stymied the Sox in what nonetheless became a 3-2 victory over the Angels in the decisive Game 4 of the ALDS. "But I'll take the one that got caught for the one that got through."
In the bigger picture, so will the Red Sox.
Think about it: Not long after the July 31 trading deadline, the Red Sox reached agreement with the San Diego Padres on a trade that would have brought outfielder Brian Giles to Boston. But Giles killed the deal, exercising his his contractual right. Within three weeks, resourceful Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein executed the trade that instead brought Kotsay to Boston, a move that now seems crucial given the recent injury to third baseman Mike Lowell.
Unlike Giles, who never has played first base in his major league career, Kotsay has demonstrated the requisite versatility to do so. What the Red Sox might have sacrificed in offense, they gained in flexibility. As such, Kotsay will be playing first base tomorrow night with Kevin Youkilis at third base and Jed Lowrie at shortstop when the Red Sox open the American League Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.