|The Red Sox cleared a roster spot for a rookie by dealing veteran backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Mets for a player to be named, a PTBN who turned into righthander Pedro Beato two days later. Boston also saves more than $215,000 in salary commitments with the trade.
With Shoppach out of the picture, 25-year-old Ryan Lavarnway now has a clear shot at playing time for the Red Sox as backup to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. One year after belting 32 homers in the high minors, Lavarnway batted .295/.376/.439 with eight homers for Triple-A Pawtucket to rank eighth in the International League batting race while also pacing all IL catchers with an .815 OPS.
|Red Sox Acquire|
|Pedro Beato, rhp
Age: 25. Born: Oct 27, 1986 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 220.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: St. Petersburg (Fla.) JC.
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in supplemental first round (32nd overall) of 2006 draft; signed June 20, 2006 … Selected by Mets from Orioles in Rule 5 major league draft, Dec. 9, 2010.
Beato produces consistent sinking life to his arm side with a 92-93 mph fastball, but his mid-80s slurvy cutter lacks the oomph to be a true out-pitch. Like many sinker/slider pitchers, Beato fares well versus same-sided batters while struggling against those on the opposite side of the plate. Big league righties have hit just .225 against him, but lefties have fared much better at .275/.396/.407 with just nine strikeouts in 112 plate appearances. Beato spent all of 2011 in the Mets’ bullpen because of his status as a Rule 5 draft pick, but neither then nor with Triple-A Buffalo this year did he perform as if he’s more than a strike-throwing middle-relief option. He has two minor league options remaining beyond this season.
|Kelly Shoppach, c
Age: 32. Bats: R. Contract Terms: Signed one-year, $1.35 million deal for 2012 season.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Remaining Commitment: Approximately $337,000 million for the rest of the season, then free agent eligible in the offseason.
Impact On Mets Depth Chart: Among catchers, only Mike Napoli and Chris Iannetta have a higher isolated slugging than Shoppach’s. 202 mark over the past five seasons (min. 1,000 plate appearances), but that power comes at the cost of a .223 average and one of the most dramatic platoon splits in the game. For his career, Shoppach has lit up lefties for a batting line of .270/.364/.530 in 571 PA, but that line falls off to .204/.290/.365 in 1,070 PA versus righties. (The split was fairly even this season, perhaps due to the influence of Fenway Park.) Regardless, Shoppach will serve as backup/platoon partner with Mets lefty-hitting starter Josh Thole (a meager .188 hitter versus southpaws for his career), filling a void that New York has not been able to fill this season as it has trotted out light-hitting, righty-swinging minor league vets Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson.