By The Associated Press
SEATTLE — The Mariners finalized the trade with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday that brings first baseman Casey Kotchman to Seattle for outfielder Bill Hall, a Nettleton native, a player to be named and cash.
Kotchman passed his physical to complete the deal, which had been agreed to Tuesday.
“We’ve all known Casey for a long time and seen him grow in the baseball ranks,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. “Casey has an opportunity to become the player he has been projected to be. He plays great defense and offensively should be a nice fit for our club and ballpark. He is a person of character with great work habits.”
The deal strongly suggests Seattle won’t bring back slugging first baseman Russell Branyan. The Mariners fear the free agent might not be completely healed from a disk issue in his back from late last season and may not be worthy of the multiyear contract he wants.
Kotchman is 26 and fits Zduriencik’s plan to rebuild the rising Mariners through defense, pitching and youth. Kotchman is less of a power hitter but is eight years younger and a better defender than Branyan.
He has not made an error over his last 185 games and last year became just the third first baseman in major league history with a perfect fielding percentage while playing at least 108 games at the position.
Boston has an excess of veteran corner infielders following the signing of former Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre. They had tried to trade third baseman Mike Lowell to Texas for catcher Max Ramirez last month, but that deal fell through when Lowell needed thumb surgery.
Kotchman is a .269 career hitter who has never hit more than 14 home runs in a season and is known for defense. He joined Boston on July 31 in a trade with Atlanta and played in 39 games with the Red Sox.
The 30-year-old Hall hit .200 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 34 games with Seattle last season after a trade with Milwaukee on Aug. 19.
The player to be named is expected to be a minor leaguer.