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Blog Entry

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 7:18 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

The assumption throughout the entire offseason was that Jason Varitek's 15-season stint with the Boston Red Sox was over, and it seems pretty official now. The Red Sox have signed Kelly Shoppach to a one-year deal. Multiple outlets are reporting (WEEI.com) that it's a $1.35 million contract. Shoppach is to serve as the backup to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Hot Stove Tuesday
Shoppach, 31, has been mired below the Mendoza line the past two seasons, hitting .196 in 2010 and .176 last season. He does have power, as he hit 11 home runs in 253 plate appearances last season and once hit 21 in a season for the Indians. The most important thing, however, is that Shoppach had an MLB-best 41 percent caught stealing percentage from behind the plate. Contrast that to dreadful 14 percent Varitek threw out, and it's easy to see why this move was made.

Keep in mind, 24-year-old Ryan Lavarnway is also providing organizational depth. He made his big-league debut last season and hit .290/.376/.563 with 32 home runs and 93 RBI in 503 plate appearances across Double-A and Triple-A. So Shoppach backs up Saltalamacchia to open the season while Lavarnway continues to grow in Triple-A, meanwhile the Red Sox can promote him when they see fit. The smart money is on Shoppach only being with the Red Sox for this one year and Lavarnway figures heavily into plans in 2013, assuming he doesn't have any setbacks. 

Varitek is a three-time All-Star and had served as the Red Sox team captain for years. He was a regular starter on the 2004 and 2007 World Series champion teams. At 39, though, he's definitely in the twilight of his playing career. It's possible some other team picks him up as a backup, but his days as a useful regular are long since past and he could very well be forced to retire.

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Comments

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:25 am
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Knew it was coming.  They should add him to the staff as a coach and work with the pitchers and catchers.  Maybe the bullpen coach.  He can still bring so much to the team that they need.



Since: Jun 16, 2011
Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:41 am
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Ryan Lavarnway provides a better option than Shoppach.  Varitek needs to step down and retire gracefully just like Posada should.  Jason's bat has been dead for awhile now and there is no reason to hurt a contender like Boston with a .220 BA in their line-up.  Lavarnway is a stud and Shoppach would be lucky to get a back-up job.



Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:29 am
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Ryan Lavarnway provides a better option than Shoppach.  Shoppach can't even hit .200 and no amount of defense can compensate for how pathetic he is on offense.  I know Lavarnway might have some growing pains, but he'd contribute much more to the team than Shoppach.



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:47 am
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Good riddence!!



Since: Feb 16, 2008
Posted on: December 13, 2011 7:22 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Gotta agree that Tek was a hell of a player and will never be forgotten. But we needed to get some help last year behind the plate and Salty was  the best ava. So we upgraded with Kelly S. WOW my heart is pounding with joy. For Real we need a catcher to compete in the East......  I see that we will have to trade and give up something good. We can't win with the catchers we have. Also he has to control  the staff we have and that isn;t easy. Whats ava. out there anyhow?



Since: Jul 29, 2011
Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:50 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Sox fans will always love Tek!  He did the team a favor two years ago by not accepting arbitration which would have paid him more in one year than he earned in the last two.  The Sox would be smart to offer him a coaching position at the big league level so they can still utilize his brains for the game.  Maybe a bullpen coach!  The pitchers think highly of him and he's always been a team player.  I know that he and Shoppach had some differences when Shoppach was at he beginning of his career.  But that's water under the bridge.  Hey Sox, pay Tek to coach and use his knowledge to your advantage. 



Since: Dec 18, 2009
Posted on: December 13, 2011 5:12 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Hey, Big O..Don't think Varitek was kicked to the curb at all. The sox showed him the respect he deserved by carrying him the past two years. As much as I appreciate all he has done for the Sox over the years, his time has come to call it quits and retire. Bow out gracefully , Jason , and look to the future as a coach or manager. Hopefully the Sox will find a spot in their organization for him.



Since: Oct 17, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

I can't stand Vari-f*ck.  A-Rod in 2004 should have cracked the bat over his head like what Juan Marichal did to Johnny Roseboro.  Not enough bad things can happen to Varitek.



Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: December 13, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Red Sox ink Shoppach, Varitek very likely gone

Call it karma .
Call it irony .

How fitting is it , that the Sawx waited until their off-season "divorce" was finalized ,
before kicking Varitek to the curb  ??


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