Once the Boston Red Sox decided to put backup catcher Kelly Shoppach on waivers, it was only a matter of time before the FO got the chance to deal him. It happened on Tuesday, with Shoppach heading for the New York Mets for a player to be named later. Of course, whoever Ben Cherington and company have their eye on would have to clear waivers himself. Not that the post-waiver trade is going to net the Sox anyone significant anyway. Unless you count Ryan Lavarnway, that is.
Other than freeing up a roster spot for Lavarnway, what does this move accomplish? Why now? Shoppach may not have offered up as much excitement in recent times as he did when got the one and only stolen base of his 8-year career earlier this season. Let's not forget, however, that the 32-year-old was at least as competent behind the plate as Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and was a heck of a lot more consistent with a bat in his hands.
Salty's got a neat way of distracting from his generally poor production; he gets a good deal of homeruns. As of this writing, his 20 homers are second overall on the team behind David Ortiz's 23. That doesn't change the fact that Red Sox' supposed long-term solution at catcher is batting .228 and has no less than 102 strikeouts.
I don't want to offend all the Salty fan-girls out there in Red Sox Nation, but sometimes I feel like my grandmother would have less strikeouts if she'd pinch hit for him. Some of those at-bats have been head-shakingly bad. At least grandma would be lucky. Salty's been lucky too, no doubt, and when he's got a hot bat, it's really hot.
Problem is that he's ice-cold immediately afterwards. There's no middle-ground for Salty. At the very least, you have to wonder whether or not the FO traded the right catcher.
Maybe "gave up" is a more accurate description. Not long before the trade deadline, Shoppach was arguably impressive enough to be worth something in return. At best, Tuesday's trade will eventually get the Red Sox a prospect who might be decent enough to contribute some day. Lavarnway on the roster or not, tt's hard to imagine that Tuesday's trade will have any impact on the fantastically remote chance of wildcard berth.
Taurus Londono has lived in Massachusetts for over ten years. He is a longtime fan of the Boston Red Sox.