Last night, Kelly Shoppach had another 0-fer. This time it was an 0-2 night in which he also allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 8th inning on a pitch he made no effort to block with a runner on third.

And there was the double-play groundball with one out and the bases loaded in the second inning. Ironic, because Shoppach, who has struck out 31 times in 79 at bats, would have been better off striking out (for once).

His batting average is now .152. Only Dan Johnson (.115) and Drew Butera (.126) of the Twins are worse among batters in the American League with at least 50 at bats.

Defensively, Shoppach has been pretty good. Opponents have only stolen eight bases in 15 attempts. And thanks to a favorable scoring last night, Shoppach still has yet to allow an official passed ball this season.

According to Fangraphs.com, Shoppach has been worth 2.0 runs to the Rays defensively, over a replacement-level catcher. But offensively, he has cost the Rays 5.9 runs. Still, based on his defense, he has actually been worth 0.1 Wins more than a replacement-level player. In other words, he is still better than the typical 4-A catcher off the street (barely).

Meanwhile, Jose Lobaton, a switch-hitting catcher, is mashing lefties in triple-A. Against southpaws, Lobaton is hitting .371 with a .436 OBP, and is hitting .317 with a .415 OBP overall. Even if he does regress, he can’t be any worse than Shoppach offensively. He is also considered solid defensively. And at age 26, he is not necessarily a prospect that needs more seasoning.

The Rays still owe Shoppach about $2 million for the remaining 108 games. As long as Shoppach is playing well defensively, if his bat shows any life at all, the Rays will probably stick with the veteran. But if improvement doesn’t come soon, they may decide to chop Shopp and give Lobaton an opportunity.

 
 

12 Comments

  1. petethehat says:

    His (Shoppach’s) only value at this point is to be James Shields’ personal catcher, which to me seems as the only thing keeping him on the team. It’s tough to read his stress level with the demeanor that he shows, but I see no value in keeping him around. I’d like to see Lobaton given the chance, he seems to have earned it and I for one, would like a change. And while he’s (Lobaton) getting his feet wet Jaso is still hitting righties and always (well usually or mostly) gives you good at-bats.

  2. Tone says:

    It’s time to move on.

  3. Dugan says:

    My thoughts are that Shopp and Sonny are still around just b/c Joe likes their “face”, but I guess money does enter the equation b/c this is the Rays. Although I do think they could make up that 2 mil. in tickets sold if we had someone (Lobaton?) who could hit and actually help us into first in the division.

  4. Drew says:

    I would take Shawn Riggans or Michel Hernandez over Shoppach 100 times out of 100

  5. Alex says:

    I’m sorry but I have a REALLY hard time believing Shoppach is worth anything defensively. Last night was a perfect example. The curve ball that he wasn’t even close on, the fastball through the knees coupled with dropping the carom. His throwing is like Dioner Navarros. When he throws the guy out great, but the times when he doesn’t throw the guy out the ball is nowhere close. The only reason he is still playing for us is because he makes $2 million and the Rays don’t like to admit defeat but just like Pat Burrell they have to before it costs this team anymore.

  6. Sledge says:

    Don’t underestimate petethehat’s comment that Shop is Shields personal catcher. I’d be willing to make a large wager that the Rays are extending some extra latitude to Shop because of how well Shields has been pitching. The old “Don’t mess with something that is working”.

  7. It’s bad enough that Shoppach is in the batting order but who is the genius that placed the best hitter in the American League in front of him. When the Rays sacrificed Longo and Upton over to 2nd and 3rd. Did they REALLY think that Texas would pitch to Joyce with 1st base open or Shoppach. Luckily, they walked him on 4 pitches instead of just drilling him in the ribs. Later that game, I almost fell out of my chair when they actually pitched to Joyce with a runner on base. They must believe that ridiculous lefty on lefty paradigm because Joyce put a fast ball into the right field stands to tie it up.

    Shoppach then tried to lose the game when he failed to even attempt to block a pitch in the dirt with a runner on 3rd. What happened to Shawn Riggins? I thought he was the better catcher anyway and with a pretty good stick.

    • Gus says:

      The placement of Joyce in front of Shoppach made me laugh as well. As if Maddon can’t admit that his long-held trepidation of Joyce hitting lefties was folly, so he’s going to bury him in the order with “lefty mashing” Shoppach. Splits and core coompetence are too very different concepts and have been confused by JoMa.

      Maddon’s (management’s?) loyalty to Shoppach has been very frustrating to watch. Along with Manny and Burrell, you have to think they are buying fool’s gold in his 2008 season that is coming back. Doesn’t appear to be coming back.

  8. Matt says:

    If the Rays really do only keep Shop because of his ability to catch shields, then why do they play him every other day….oh yeah match-ups, even though Jaso probably can hit lefties better than shoppach. It is all due to maddon’s taking a liking of him and now they dont want to get rid of him.

  9. CC says:

    Let me say it as plainly and truthfully as I can. Shoppach Sucks!

  10. Daredevil says:

    The putrid Shoppach caught Shields last year. Where was the magic then? I say it’s due to Shields’ changed delivery, and his mental tenacity after a terrible last season. After 6 seasons in the bigs, Shields does not need that much help from his catcher to call a game. So he might have to shake off some signs from Lobaton or another new catcher. This is not the end of the world. But it just might be if Friedman and Maddon do not make a change soon. We will not make the playoffs with Shoppach on the team. He is such a waste on offense, we can’t afford that. And his D is not as good as some people are claiming.

  11. Camby says:

    Maddon always seems to have a guy who must have incriminating photos of him somewhere. For years it was Gabe Gross, the supposed RHP masher who couldnt hit as good as Jim Abbott, and Rocco, who, gosh bless him kept proving me wrong and coming back but just couldnt recover from injuries. Now it’s Shop and Jaso. Im not saying go out and trade for Mike Napoli but jeez find someone who’s an improvement over just letting the pitcher hit

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