Kelly Shoppach Will Provide Upgrade for Mets at Struggling Catcher Position

Kelly Shoppach Will Provide Upgrade for Mets at Struggling Catcher PositionIt was only a matter of time until Kelly Shoppach was dealt.

In the days leading up to the trade deadline on July 31, the Red Sox were in serious discussions with the Mets and the Rangers in an attempt to trade the veteran catcher. But the Red Sox couldn't agree to a deal at the time.

Two weeks later, a move was finally made after the Mets claimed Shoppach off waivers. The Red Sox were so desperate to ship Shoppach — and give rising prospect Ryan Lavarnway playing time — they traded him for a player to be named later.

Meanwhile, the Mets benefit from the exchange. Before the trade, Mets catcher Josh Thole's backups were Mike Nickeas and, most recently, Rob Johnson, with the latter hitting .250 in 17 games and 52 at-bats for New York.

From the beginning of the season, Nickeas floundered in his backup role, hitting .168 with one homer and 13 RBIs in 42 games. Thole has also failed to provide an offensive spark, as he's only blasted a single home run and driven in 18 RBIs while batting .260.

Shoppach's arrival, however, offers some veteran stability, catching depth and an ability to crush lefties. This season, the 32-year-old's slugging percentage against southpaws is .500 while his career OPS against them is .894.

In 48 games this season, Shoppach capitalized on his opportunities when called upon to spell Jarrod Saltalamacchia, managing five home runs and 17 RBIs while hitting .250.

Buoyed by his exceptional game-calling skills — Red Sox pticher Franklin Morales raved about the backstop's guidance — Shoppach will be called upon to maintain his momentum in a platoon role with Thole and the Mets pitching staff.

In addition to offense, Shoppach will provide quality defense. Behind the plate for the Red Sox, he caught 10 base runners stealing with his cannon arm and also tallied a .987 fielding percentage.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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