Sports Outside the Beltway

Tampa Bay Rays acquire Catcher Kelly Shoppach from Cleveland

The 29-year-old was up for salary arbitration and this may be why Cleveland wanted to move Shoppach. From AP-

The Tampa Bay Rays acquired veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later.

Tampa Bay is clearly hoping for a return to 2008 levels from newly acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach. How his last three seasons compared to Rays regular Dioner Navarro’s:

Shoppach, 29, hit .214 with homers in 89 games for the Indians in 2009, a decline from the strong season he put up in 2008, when he hit .261 with 21 homers, with a .517 slugging percentage.


Shoppach earned $1.95 million in 2009 for the Indians, and because he’s arbitration-eligible, he is in line for a significant raise. Cleveland is rebuilding and has other catching options, having acquired Lou Marson in the Cliff Lee trade with Philadelphia, and so the Indians have indicated a willingness in this offseason to deal Shoppach for a second-line prospect.

Not knowing what Cleveland will get in return for Shoppach makes this trade hard to evaluate, but I’ll take a shot at it any way.

If Tampa expects Shoppach to play again in 2008, they are having a case of wishful thinking. 2008 was Shoppach’s opportunity to start in the majors, and many players at the same age as Shoppach excel for one year, then drop off.

Catching is also on a person’s body.Most players at this position age rapidly. Shoppach is also at the age where all position players have peaked already.

All this said, Shoppach could still be an offensive improvement on the Rays current catcher, Dioner Navarro, who hits for low average and has little power.

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