Kelly Shoppach Could be a Mariner [Updated]
Written by Brendan Gawlowski on January 28, 2013 @ 02:17PM      Jump To Comments

UPDATE 1-29, 3:53: Sources on Twitter are indicating that the Mariners have signed Shoppach, pending his completion of a physical. Here's Heyman and Churchill.

Buckle up if you haven't heard the news: Kelly Shoppach could be coming to Seattle. The basis for this rumor is Jason Churchill's Twitter feed. Last night, Churchill tweeted that the M's were making progress towards signing a free agent catcher, and he later hinted that Shoppach was likely the man in question. Shoppach is a good fit for the team, as even after signing Ronny Paulino to a minor league contract, the Mariners are dangerously short of backstops at the moment.

Shoppach isn't without weaknesses. He's reportedly a poor defender, and with a career 33.4% strike out rate, he's one of the more prolific whiffers in the game as well. Shoppach also has fairly wide platoon splits (though he did have a reverse platoon split last season), indicating that he might struggle offensively as the every day catcher. What he can do is hit with power. He has a career .418 slugging percentage, and despite limited action, he popped nineteen home runs over the past two seasons.

Beyond the platoon split, my main concern is his durability. Shoppach hasn't been an everyday catcher since 2008 (when he was actually quite good, posting a 128 wRC+) and given that he'll be 33 for much of the season, I wonder how he'd hold up if given expanded duty.

I'd nonetheless be on board with the M's adding his services. The Mariners desperately need someone on the roster who can reliably catch at the big league level, and Shoppach is probably the best catcher left on the market. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign here, either. The M's have a need, and this might be the last opportunity Shoppach has to start for an MLB team. We'll be monitoring the situation.