Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach shipped to New York Mets
Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach has landed with the Mets in a one-way trade sending the back-up catcher to New York for a player to be named later. In his second stint with Boston, Shoppach hit .250 with 5 home runs, 16 runs and a 17 RBIs in 48 games (42 starts) this season.
Shoppach was originally selected by Boston in the second round of the 2001 draft, eventually making it up to the bigs in 2005. The following season, Shoppach was shipped off to Cleveland in the Coco Crisp deal, along with third baseman Andy Marte and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota. Shoppach was a personal favorite of GM Ben Cherington, who re-signed the catcher as a free agent back in December 2011. The deal was added insurance in case Jason Varitek chose to retire—which he did, later in April.
The former Indians (2006-09) and Rays (2010-11) catcher had a very minimal back-up role this season, due to the emergence of starter Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Even still, no catcher has really had a steady gig behind the plate since Doug Mirabelli, who was a personal catcher for knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield. New manager Bobby Valentine has said he does not believe in the philosophy of pitcher’s “personal” catchers.
It appears as though the Shoppach trade has cleared space and playing time for Boston’s catcher of the future, Yale product Ryan Lavarnway. After a breakout 2011 season in Triple-A Pawtucket, Lavarnway was one of a few September call-ups. The decision paid off, belting his first two major league home runs during Boston’s 8-7 come-from-behind win over Baltimore on the final game of the regular season. Unfortunately, the Sox luck ran out the following day, losing a one-game playoff with the O’s. Lavarnway began the 2012 season with the PawSox earning International League All-Star honors, hitting .295 with 94 hits, 8 home runs, and 43 RBIs. Lavarnway re-joined the Red Sox on August 1st.