The news broke over a week ago, but the Mariners made it official today, announcing the signing of veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one-year contract.
Shoppach was signed to be a veteran back-up to Jesus Montero. However, with the latest news of Montero’s links to a possible performance enhancing drug scandal in Miami, getting Shoppach could be even more important.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Shoppach, right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley has been designated for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Kelley to the minor leagues.
The choice to DFA Kelley is a bit odd considering they just agreed to a contract with him. But I’m guessing that the Mariners might have a trade worked out for him, which is part of the reason it took so long to announce the Shoppach deal.
Shoppach, 32, appeared in 76 games with the Red Sox and Mets in 2012. In eight Major League seasons the veteran catcher has appeared in 536 games and combined to hit 67 home runs. He ranks 4th among active catchers with a home run every 22.36 at-bats (min. 1,000 PA).
Over the last two seasons Shoppach has a catcher caught stealing percentage of 31.76% (27 CCS, 58 SB), the 6th-best rate in the Majors. Over the course of his career he has combined to throw out 29% of attempted base stealers (89 of 306). The Fort Worth, Texas native was originally selected by Boston Red Sox in the 2nd round of the 2001 June draft out of Baylor University.
Kelley, 28, went 2-4 with a 3.25 ERA (16 ER, 44.1 IP) in 47 relief appearances last season. Over parts of four Major League seasons with the Mariners, the Louisville, Kentucky native has combined for a 3.52 ERA in 120 relief appearances. He was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2007 June draft out of Austin Peay University.