The Mets announced they have claimed back-up catcher Kelly Shoppach off waivers for a player to be named later. New York was connected to Shoppach throughout the month of July as a potential trade target, but the Red Sox and Mets couldn’t come to a common ground on the appropriate price before the deadline.
It makes sense that Boston would deal Shoppach now to get something in return since he is due to become a free agent at the end of the
season and prospect Ryan Lavarnway now up in the Big Leagues. Shoppach joined the Sox for 2012 after signing a one-year/$1.35 million deal in the winter to back up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Amazins were linked to a handful of other back up catchers before the non-waiver trade deadline, such as Ramon Hernandez and Miguel Olivo, but Shoppach is the youngest of all three and has the biggest upside, speaking about health and production. However, once Terry Collins’ group fell out of contention, there was no rush to bring in a right-handed catcher to compliment Josh Thole. Waiting until now actually benefited the Mets, as they will likely be sending a non-impact prospect back to Boston in exchange for Shoppach’s services.
In 48 games with the Red Sox (146 ABs), Shoppach is hitting .250/.327/.471 with 5 homers and 17 RBI, which is much more than what the Mets were getting out of Mike Nickeas (.168/.241/.228) and Rob Johnson (.250/.298/.288) throughout the majority of this season. Since he will be a free agent at the conclusion of the season, Alderson needs to make it a priority to ink him to another deal for 2013 to make acquiring him worthwhile, barring he will be productive at the plate and handle the pitching staff well throughout this last month and a half.
Speculation has been surfacing that New York should place Scott Hairston on waivers and deal him to a contender in return for prospects, and making the move to acquire Shoppach may allow that to happen. Without Hairston on the roster, there would have been even less protection for David Wright against left-handed pitchers. Kelly Shoppach doesn’t exactly instill fear into an opposing pitcher, but he has a .270/.364/.530 career line against southpaws, possibly making it a little easier for the front office to let a bat like Hairston go.