Indians GM speaks highly of new Rays C Shoppach
Indians GM Mark Shapiro had kind words Wednesday for Kelly Shoppach, the catcher he traded to the Rays.
“I absolutely think he could be an everyday catcher,'' Shapiro said from Cleveland. "He's definitely got an upside.''
Offensively: "His greatest strength is obviously his power. He’s got great power to all fields. When this guy makes contact, good things happen. He's going to strike out. He’s got a track record that the way he makes out is by strikeout, but you don’t try to change that. He’s got to continue to get on base and be selective and try to work to improve his two-strike approach. He’s got incredible strength and power.’’
Defensively: “Pitchers love to throw to him, he calls a good game, he breaks down hitters well. He has a good arm and he’s able to shut down a running game, though at times he’s been a little bit inconsistent. Blocking (pitches) is an area where he could improve, though he’s gotten better.’’
The Indians dealt Shoppach to make room for younger catchers, and save the $2.5-million or so he’ll make via arbitration. There are a couple names in play as the player to be named; Shapiro said “we’ll get a player we like” who could be on their 25-man roster.