Sep 12, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets catcher Kelly Shoppach (6) singles to shallow center during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Would A Reunion With Kelly Shoppach Make Sense?


Looking at the Rays roster, their biggest holes are in the form of having a power bat and someone to fill the role of designated hitter. The Rays could also, potentially, use a starting caliber catcher. Jose Molina, Jose Lobaton, and Chris Gimenez all had their moments; however, none of them have displayed enough to be a true starter at the major league level. The Rays could also use someone that can hit for power, and if they are able to combine that with one of their weaknesses, then so much the better.

Currently, there happens to be a free agent catcher that fits as someone that can hit the occasional home run, former Ray Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach, who was a member of the Rays in 2010 and 2011, has the fifth best isolated power of any free agent currently remaining. Last season, he slugged a home run once in every 27.4 at bats; for his career, that mark is once in every 22.5 at bats. Despite being a part time player over most of his career, Shoppach has hit double digits in home runs three times in his career, with a high of 21 in 2008, the one year he was the primary catcher.

Shoppach has also been a relatively solid defensive catcher over his career. His range has been about league average, and he has thrown out 29% of opposing baserunners over his career, just above league average. He even led the league in caught stealing percentage in 2011, when he gunned down 41% of opposing baserunners.

But is Shoppach really an upgrade over what the Rays currently have? Last year, split between the Red Sox and the Mets, he did hit 8 home runs in 219 at bats, but only had a batting line of .233/.309/.425. This follows up his two year stint in Tampa when he produced 16 home runs over 379 at bats, yet had a woeful batting line of .185/.285/.340. Shoppach also struck out 150 times, in 150 games played.

In short, Shoppach is very similar to Molina, only without the same defensive capabilities. Both can hit the occasional home run and hit decently against left handed pitching, but neither really seem to be starting caliber catchers. Even though he looks like one of the best power hitters left on the market, a reunion with Kelly Shoppach simply would not make sense, as the Rays already have a catcher that is very similar.

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