When the Rays sent Matt Garza to the Cubs this off-season, most of the attention was focused on the acquisitions of Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee. Those two players are now considered among the best prospects in the Rays’ already deep system.

But Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune says the Rays are “very excited” about catching prospect Robinson Chirinos, and that he could push Kelly Shoppach and join John Jaso as part of the Rays catching platoon.

That seems like a big jump for a player that only became a catcher in 2008 and still has only caught 170 games in his career. He is also short on experience with just 15 games above double-A. Considering how patient the Rays typically are with prospects, it would seem that we wouldn’t see Chirinos at the Trop until at least July.

But there are a couple of factors working in Chirinos’ favor: 1) Dude can hit. He is an on-base machine that had more walks in 2010 than strikeouts; and 2) He is a lot cheaper ($414 thousand) than Shoppach ($3 million).

Some of this may be contingent on the Rays finding a trade partner to take Shoppach, but maybe the idea isn’t so crazy after all.



  1. Tom says:

    I do not know anything about his defense but if this guy can play the middle infield then I could see him pushing E Johnson and Lopez and being a utility infielder/3rd catcher if he can beat them out in spring training.

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Well isn’t that just a precious shot of Matt in a Cubs uniform.
    On another note, I hope and pray that Chirinos can bump Shop somehow. That would just make my day.

  3. Michael says:

    I agree with you Cork. Odds are he doesn’t come up till mid-way.

    They probably want to give him more time as a catcher, although he is above-average and woud, right now, be the best defensive (and very possibly offensive) catcher for the Rays.

  4. stunna says:

    I’ll take ANYONE over Shoppach. Hell, even present-day Toby Hall would be an improvement.

  5. Kyle says:

    I like the “big…jump” lol

  6. Joe says:

    So what are the chances we trade Shoppach, Cobb and Elliot Johnson for Jack Hanrahan? Pirates are in need for a SS for…..ever, they love young pitching and they refuse to use Doumit behind the plate.

    I guess if they demand, they can toss in Doumit but we wouldn’t fill a need either

    • Derek says:

      We lose that trade. Id rather turn Cobb into a relief arm.

      • Jason W says:

        How do we lose that trade? We trade a potentialy good relief pitcher for an aready good relief pitcher and lose salary because we get rid of Shop? I doubt the Pirates even make that deal anyways because they like Hanrahan, but I still dont see how we lose the mentioned deal if it happened.

        • Derek says:

          I see him as a potentially good third starter. I mentioned relief because that’s what you’re asking for. I want to see what Shopp can do this year before we trade him for something I dont think we need. Sure, a “proven” pitcher out of the pen would be good, but I do like our pen now. Combine that with keeping Cobb, the chance Shopp is healthy and hits to his career averages, and a decent bench player in EJ, who we need because Zobrist can only play one position at a time.

          Look at it this way, there are FOUR elite arms in the minors right now, three of those have a control issue. Torres, Archer, and Moore. The forth is McGee. Id rather we use what we already have, then trade three guys who will see the field in 2011 for one guy that’s “proven” (only 20 career saves, for JOEL Hanrahan)

          Yes, I believe Cobb will see time this year. He doesnt have the “stuff” to break our rotation, but we wont let him waste time in AAA.

  7. CharlieRay says:

    SHOP Shoppach in the bargain basement. Even if you have to trade him for a dozen bats

  8. Don says:

    You forgot a couple of things Shopp is an “insider” coming over with Sheldon from Clev…probably on Sheldons recommendation….
    Also, Maddon continually sticks up for him…no matter what anyone else says…and no matter what it costs Maddon & Rays in performance….
    You have a problem getting rid of dead weight Shopp….

    • The BIZ says:


    • Raysfan137 says:

      You mean Shelton ? The hitting coach ? We can throw him in for lagniappe if anyone would take him. Cleveland threw a party when he left. I’d give up my lower box tix to the post season we would make if ShopVac and Sheltie were both gone.

  9. Derek says:

    Lets ignore the fact that Shoppach had Knee surgery. and that he might have rushed himself back.

    Clearly if he struggles something will be done, but at least give the guy a decent chance to prove when he is healthy he can be what he is, not what he was last year.

  10. David says:

    If he was playing injured last year as the excuse to why he was so terrible, then why play him at all in the ALDS?

    • Derek says:

      He was pretty damn good against lefties last year. When they saw he was shit against RHP they stopped letting him face them. That took a little bit of time though.

      The question you should have asked about the ALDS, is why the hell did Roco make a start against Cliff Lee.

      We didnt lose because of Shoppach. He only had ten plate appearances. How about Price? Two starts, couldnt do it.

      • Indiana Rays Boy says:

        With the Rocco situation, I agree with you. However, Kelly Shoppach shouldn’t had been starting in Games 2 and 5. He couldn’t hit a wet paper towel but I would had gone with John Jaso (he couldn’t been worse against lefties than Shoppach). Shoppach was one of the reasons why they lost Game 5 along with David Price. My question was why Shields was starting in Game 2?

        • Derek says:

          I know how much you guys hate stats, but here are a few for Shoppach against lefties last year. .260 average. .369 on base percentage. .823 OPS. He wasnt that bad, and in fact he was pretty good.

          Now Jaso only had 58 plate appearances against lefties last year, so that’s one reason why they didnt ask that of him in his first taste of the playoffs, another is what he did with those 58 plate appearances. .191 average. there isnt much else to say about him there, as he didnt do anything else but draw walks, which I assume happened because he knew what would happen if he tried to hit anything. lol jk but still.

          As I recall Shields pitched a decent enough game, Qualls came in and let up a huge homerun. There wasnt anyone else also, Jeff turned to crap at the end of the year, and Hell hadnt been stretched out in some time, you dont want him to go from relief to starting game two. He would fail.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            “I know how much you guys hate stats”

            Well, that is a pretty silly generalization. I’m not sure it is possible to hate stats and still like baseball.

          • Raysfan137 says:

            Jaso’s 58 plate appearances make his stats against lefties IS the problem. He should have been getting more chances throughout the season. I’m hoping he gets a chance to get a significant number this Spring to see if that .191 would have become closer to .250 with 220+ ABs. Plus, don’t forget JJ is a helluva on base guy and 24.3 times as good a base runner as ShopVac

          • Derek says:

            I dont think its really a problem, sure he should see more time there, but Im pretty sure he saw less time as the year went on, because Shoppach was doing an ok job in that role. Remember, Jaso was never expected to see time last year, so going from a possible career minor league player, or at best a backup catcher to being expected to be an everyday catcher is tough. They probably didn’t want to put him in that position, and clearly they still dont. We have a ton of catchers in the minors now, something that is kind of rare. I doubt Jaso ever becomes a full time guy, not with Chirinios and the gang working their way up to the majors.

          • Derek says:

            Lol. The last time I talked about stats I got called a loser who never played a sport in his life.

          • Cork Gaines says:

            Well, I am not familiar with that instance, but I am guessing that they just didn’t like the stats that you were using. But I would hope that the commenter then knows that even traditional stats that may not provide as much information as the more advanced measures, are still stats.

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