In another minor move by the New York Mets, the team has put in a claim for Boston Red Sox back-up catcher Kelly Shoppach and both teams have agreed to terms for a player to be named later. Shoppach, at 32 years old is a good defensive catcher with average stats at the plate. In only 140 at-bats this season as the number two catcher in Boston, Shoppach posted a .250 average with 5HRs, 17RBIs, 12 doubles and 2 triples. For all intents and purposes, this is a player the Mets will hope to sign in the offseason for a one or two year deal at the most to share time behind the plate with Josh Thole.
The major leagues have seen a rapid decline over the past couple years in the catching position with quality veterans succumbing to age. In short term payoff, this is a good move for the Mets who clearly suffer at that position and hope Shoppach can give an offensive and defensive boost with a veteran edge. The Red Sox tried to move Shoppach at the MLB trade deadline, but were left with no choice but to place him on waivers. The Mets bit on a claim and a deal was imminent.
As you look around the majors, there were not many other catchers out there that would be a better fit for the Mets. You’re talking about players such as Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers, if you can trade for him. Other names that surface are Russell Martin of the New York Yankees if they part ways, or aging veterans such as Henry Blanco, Ramon Hernandez or Matt Treanor. None of the catchers that might be available are better than average at the plate. So this move by the Mets shores up a position that they do not have to put much money into and can use their limited resources in their outfield.
Of course Shoppach is not a sexy choice like acquiring Yadier Molina, but Sandy Alderson will not be able to spend $7-9mill a year on that position anyway. So with limited choices, I like this move going forward and hope that the small ball mentality of Alderson and his front-office wizards can pull off a miracle in Flushing.
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