Tampa Rays Acquire Kelly Shoppach From Cleveland Indians

Update: The Player To Be Named Later in this trade is RHP Mitch Talbot. Talbot, 26, was 4-4 with a 4.47 ERA for Triple-A Durham in 2009.

Talbot has a chance to win a roster spot with the Indians in 2010.

Original Post

According to the Tampa Bay Rays official site, the Rays have acquired catcher Kelly Shoppach from the Cleveland Indians for the vaunted Player To Be Named Later or “PTBNL” as us cool kids say.

I really like this pick up for the Rays.

I have always been a Shoppach fan going back to his days with the Boston Red Sox. I thought the Red Sox were going to re-acquire him this offseason, but it was not meant to be.

Shoppach will be catching for the Rays in 2010

The Rays have been looking for a catcher because Gregg Zaun is a free agent and Dioner Navarro was completely useless last year. Talk about a World Series hangover. What happened to him last year?

Navarro hit .295 with a .757 OPS and was an All Star in 2008, but in 2009, Navarro reverted back to his 2006 and 2007 form by hitting a pathetic .218 with a .583 OPS.

Shoppach’s career has taken a similar path as Navarro’s. Shoppach was a backup catcher in 2006 and 2007 and then in 2008 Shoppach had the opportunity to start thanks to a Victor Martinez injury.

Shoppach proceeded to have a career year in 2008 when he hit 21 home runs and had an .865 OPS in 113 games for the Indians. In 2009, Shoppach suffered through injuries and had a down year hitting only .214 with a .734 OPS in 58 games.

This trade gives the Rays a couple of options. The Rays could now let Navarro go instead of offering him arbitration by the December 12 deadline and re-sign Zaun. This would give them a Shoppach/Zaun tandem in 2010.

The second option wold be they keep both Shoppach and Navarro. With Shoppach arbitration eligible as well, I believe the Rays will go with the first option.

If you were to ask me, Shoppach is a much better candidate to have a bounce back year than Navarro.

For the Indians, they will get a back player for a player who was probably going to be non-tendered in a couple of weeks, so it’s not a bad deal for them.

With Lou Marson and top prospect Carlos Santana ready to take over the catching duties in the future, Shoppach was expendable.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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