Kelly Shoppach Traded to Rays

The Rays have made their first major roster move since the Akinori Iwamura trade. They will send a player to be named later to the Cleveland Indians for power–hitting catcher Kelly Shoppach.

This, of course, may signal the end for incumbent Rays catcher Dioner Navarro. He went back to being abysmal after his All–Star 2008 season, hitting just .218 with eight home runs and a paltry .261 on–base percentage.

Navarro could be traded, or even non–tendered into free agency as Jonny Gomes was last year. The Rays have expressed interest in keeping Gregg Zaun along with Shoppach.

This would be one of the quickest falls from grace ever for an All–Star. Navarro’s 2008 season is looking like a one–time fluke.

Shoppach also had a terrible 2009, hitting .214 with 12 home runs in 89 games. This was down significantly from .261 and 21 home runs in 2008. He is also strikeout–prone, which was the last thing the Rays needed offensively.

However, Shoppach has shown more consistency prior to last year, and of course more power than Navarro could put together in three years. Zaun is the right player to balance out Shoppach’s weaknesses, whereas he was just a superior version of Navarro. Not to mention Shoppach had a few injuries last year that slowed him down, whereas Navarro has no known excuse. So at this time, this looks like the right move for the Rays.

Shoppach turns 30 in April, so he probably has a few good years left. Zaun is nearly 40 and he still plays, so Shoppach could be here long–term.

Until next time, go Rays… and Blue Jays, if you give Roy Halladay to the Yankees or Red Sox, you can bite me and the entire Rays Republic.

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