Kotchman glad to reunite with Anderson
Former Halos teammates will be back together pending physical
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Having previously spent his entire big league career with the Angels, Garret Anderson will encounter a number of new faces when he's introduced to his new Braves teammates.
But at the same time, he'll have the chance to renew acquaintances with Braves first baseman Casey Kotchman, who says his former Angels teammate is looking forward to the opportunity to be part of the new-look roster that will compete in Atlanta this year.
Multiple sources confirmed late Sunday afternoon that the Braves and Anderson agreed to terms of a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Kotchman spoke to the veteran outfielder a short time later.
"He's excited," Kotchman said. "He's coming to an environment where we're all optimistic and we've got a chance to win."
Anderson is scheduled to leave California on Monday night on a red-eye flight and undergo a physical in the Orlando, Fla., area on Tuesday morning. If all goes well, the Braves will later announce him as their newest outfielder.
"He's going to help a lot more than just in left field and more than just at the plate," Kotchman said. "He brings a lot of intangibles that get overlooked as well. He's another guy like No. 10 [Chipper Jones], who has a lot on his resume.
"[Anderson] is one of the most underrated guys in the game. He quietly goes about his business."
While Jones is still adding Hall of Fame-quality credentials to his resume, Anderson is still flying under the radar with numbers that at least give him an outside chance to possibly also one day be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Having chosen to stay out of the limelight by deflecting media attention during his prime years, Anderson might not have gotten his just due from 2000-03, a four-year span during which he ranked second in the Majors in hits (765) and batted .299 with 119 homers and an .844 OPS.
In the five seasons that have followed, Anderson has hit .290 with 79 homers and a .771 OPS. While his power has declined, the 36-year-old outfielder has remained consistent enough to at least give himself a shot of recording 3,000 career hits.
With 632 hits separating him from this exclusive milestone, he'll likely need four more solid seasons to reach it. While this seems to be a lofty goal, Kotchman is among those who believe the veteran outfielder has the physical capabilities and talents to do so.
"If he wants 3,000 [hits], he'll get it," said Kotchman, who played with Anderson until being traded by the Angels to the Braves in exchange for Mark Teixeira just before last year's Trade Deadline.
Despite the fact that he hasn't played more than 94 games as an outfielder during any of the previous three seasons, there's early indication that Anderson will be given the chance to play left field on primarily an everyday basis.
Having committed himself to an offseason conditioning program, Anderson believes he's capable of playing 120-130 games in the outfield this year. Matt Diaz will likely serve as his backup in left field.
This past season, Anderson played 82 games in left field and made 59 other appearances as the designated hitter.
"He's capable of playing a lot more than that in the outfield," Kotchman said. "He wasn't [serving as the designated hitter] in those games because of any ailments or anything. There was just a surplus of outfielders."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.