Should He Stay or Should He Go….Kelly Shoppach
Every team needs catchers, not just a catcher, but catchers. You have to have a guy that can handle a staff and you would like for him to be able to throw out runners consistently. In a best case scenario you would like to see him hit, if not for average, at least for some power. The Rays have a lot of young talent on hand at the position but for the most part it is completely unproven.
That brings us to Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach was under contract for three million dollars this past year which seems like a steep price for a guy who hit .176 and only drove in 22 on the year. The one thing Shoppach did was throw out runners. He threw out 15 of 41, which was the highest percentage of runners caught stealing in the American League. And for his offensive struggles for the bulk of the year he was a spark for the Rays down the stretch. He only had 11 homers on the season but four of them came in his last seven games. He also belted two home runs in the Rays opening game win against the Rangers.
If the Rays could count on some home run pop from Shoppach’s bat, I think they would be interested in seeing him stay. The price has to be right though. It doesn’t look like Jose Lobaton or Robinson Chirinos is ready to contribute consistently right now, so Shoppach may be the better option. I still like John Jaso at catcher and if he can bounce back from the injury problems that plagued him last year, he might be the best fit of all.
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @jamesnewcomb3 and be sure to like us on Facebook