- Cubs Acquire Fernando Rodney, Designate Brian Schlitter
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Kelly Shoppach Rumors
The Braves have been determined to deal away Chris Johnson for some time, and the third baseman tells MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that he hopes to find a new home. “I’ve been called in the manager’s office,” said Johnson. “[Manager Fredi Gonzalez] has told me they are trying to move me. I want to be moved, and they want to move me. Hopefully, something gets done.”While saying he’s enjoyed his time in Atlanta, Johnson emphasized that he is interested in receiving a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere. Obviously, the Braves are looking to shave off as much of Johnson’s contract as possible. Under the extension he signed early in the 2014 campaign, he is due roughly $19.99MM (including $2.52MM for this season and the buyout of a 2018 option).
A bit more on the Braves and their division…
- Kelly Johnson has parlayed a minor league deal into a critical role on the Braves, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Johnson credits first-year hitting coach Kevin Seitzer with helping him to shorten his swing and improve his overall approach at the plate. Of course, as a veteran on a one-year deal with a losing team, Johnson’s name may pop up over the next few days as a trade candidate; I listed him and three others Braves when looking at the trade market for third basemen earlier today.
- The Mets continue to be intrigued by Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They’re also looking at Justin Upton and Carlos Gomez, though multiple reporters (most recently Marc Carig of Newsday, who also reported interest in Parra late last week) have characterized that type of high profile acquisition as a long shot. Parra, Heyman notes, is drawing quite a bit of interest around the league.
- Peter Gammons relays an anecdote from the 2012 trade deadline that could have vastly reshaped the current state of two franchises. When the Red Sox and Mets were discussing a trade for veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach, Boston initially asked about right-hander Jacob deGrom, who had recently undergone surgery. (deGrom was never projected to become the ace that he presently is, of course, and he had just undergone surgery.) However, after talking it over with his minor league evaluators, GM Sandy Alderson and the Mets passed. The two sides eventually lined up on a deal that sent right-hander Pedro Beato to Boston.
- Marlins third baseman Martin Prado tells Zach Buchanan and Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic that he’s not concerned with the possibility that he could be traded for the third time in the past year. Prado says there’s no sense in thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is going to happen again,” and he’s instead focused on helping his teammates out. He’s candid when addressing the current state of the Marlins, however. “We’re in a pretty bad situation here,” says Prado. “I’m just trying to bring good energy for my teammates and my team. That’s all I can do right now.”
Baseball America's Matt Eddy's latest piece is a fascinating look back at the history of platoon usage in Major League Baseball and the increasing role of specialized relievers in Major League bullpens. Last season, more pure left-handed relievers (i.e. lefties who made zero starts) appeared in a season than any year in Major League history. Eddy's piece is rife with tables and charts to provide the breakdown on the numbers behind left-on-left matchups as opposed to right-on-right matchups (not surprisingly, the former leans more heavily in the pitcher's favor) and is well worth the read. Here are some more links from around the league for some late-night Thursday reading…
- The Cardinals optioned top prospect Oscar Taveras to Triple-A today, putting an early end to a Spring Training that didn't allow him to fully showcase his talents, writes MLB.com's Jen Langosch. Taveras received just six plate appearances in a pair of games after sitting out the first week due to what Langosch calls "hesitancy to fully trust his surgically repaired right ankle." He also left his second and final Spring Training game with a minor hamstring injury.
- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley is well ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to pitch in the Majors as soon as late April, reports ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon. Billingsley will face live hitters next week and begin a minor league rehab assignment on April 3. Billingsley's return further crowds the competition for the team's fifth starter. Josh Beckett or Paul Maholm figures to occupy that role to open the season.
- Right-hander Todd Coffey has drawn interest from as many as nine to 10 teams and expects to sign right around Opening Day, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). Coffey is currently throwing 91 to 92 mph in bullpen sessions, he adds. Coffey last pitched in the Majors for the Dodgers in 2012.
- Cotillo also tweets that free agent catcher Kelly Shoppach is looking to play in 2014 "if the right situation/opportunity presents itself." The 33-year-old isn't close to a deal at this time. He slashed just .199/.288/.339 in 127 PAs between the Mariners and Indians last season.
- Lastly, Cotillo tweets that former AL Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa, now 34, is seeking a minor league deal to return to affiliated baseball. Berroa spent 2012 playing independent ball and was in the Mexican League last season, where he slashed .293/.362/.462 in 460 trips to the plate.
The Indians have signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a minor league contract and assignmed him to Triple-A Columbus, the team announced via press release.
Shoppach signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract with the Mariners this offseason and appeared in 35 games, hitting .196/.293/.346 over 125 plate appearances. Shoppach was pressed into everyday duty once Jesus Montero was demoted but ultimately wound up being released. Since that time he's bounced around, signing minor league deals with the Nationals and Pirates. He opted out of his deal with the Nats and was release by Pittsburgh after seven games.
The 33-year-old Shoppach spent the 2006-09 seasons with the Indians, hitting .245/.331/.456 with 43 homers in 301 games. He's struggled at all levels this season but has always been a threat against left-handed pitching, hitting southpaws at a .261/.355/.501 clip throughout his career.
Shoppach, 33, didn't appear in a major league game for the Pirates after being signed to a minor league deal earlier this month. Pittsburgh was the catcher's third team this year, as he began the season with the Mariners but was released in June after hitting .196/.293/.346 in 35 games. He then signed a minor league contract with the Nationals in early July, but opted out of the deal without reappearing in the big leagues.
Shoppach has a career .224/.312/.413 line in parts of nine major league seasons. Though he's never made good on the promise of his 2008 season with the Indians, when he hit .261/.348/.517 with 21 homers, he may still be an effective option against lefties, as he's slashed .261/.355/.501 against them for his career.
The Pirates have signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis, the team announced via press release. The 33-year-old Shoppach recently opted out of a minor league pact with the Nationals that he had signed after being released by the Mariners earlier in the year.
Shoppach hit .196/.293/.346 with three homers in 35 games for the Mariners and was leaned upon heavily with the demotion of Jesus Montero. It's not surprising that Shoppach, who has a drastic platoon split, struggled when pressed into everyday action. He's batted just .204/.289/.367 against right-handed pitching in his career but owns a healthy .261/.355/.501 batting line against southpaws. He did struggle against lefties this season, but those struggles came in a small sample size of 30 plate appearances.
Shoppach originally signed a one-year, $1.5MM contract with the Mariners this offseason, of which Seattle still must pay the majority. He drew interest after opting out of his deal with the Nats, reportedly receiving an offer from the Cardinals.
5:55pm: Unable to work out a trade for a catcher, the Cardinals have made an offer to free agent Kelly Shoppach, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). Shoppach opted out of his minor league deal with the Nationals earlier today.
2:52pm: The two sides have been unable to agree on a price, and the Cardinals' pursuit has slowed, tweets Rosenthal.
1:59pm: The Cardinals are in discussions with the Cubs to acquire Navarro, a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
12:08pm: The Cardinals are looking for catching with starter Yadier Molina likely to hit the DL with a knee injury, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, contrary to previous info he received. The Cardinals are concerned that Molina could miss a significant stretch of time to heal up, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals are gauging their options and how they can proceed once they know how long Molina will be sidelined for, Goold writes. The Cardinals have spent the past few weeks exploring deals for starting pitchers, relievers, and shortstops, but they have yet to explore deals for catchers. The catching market could include the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz and the Cubs' Dioner Navarro and Goold points that Miguel Olivo is a free agent after walking away from the Marlins.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Catcher Kelly Shoppach has exercised his opt-out clause with the Nationals and is now a free agent, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The LSW Baseball client signed a minor league deal with the Nats in early July.
Prior to signing with Washington, the 33-year-old hit just .196/.293/.346 in 125 plate appearances for the Mariners. In parts of nine seasons with the Indians, Rays, Red Sox, Mets and Mariners, Shoppach has a .224/.314/.413 slash line.
The Nationals announced on Twitter that they have signed Kelly Shoppach to a minor league contract. Shoppach, who was designated for assignment and ultimately released by the Mariners, will report to Triple-A Syracuse.
Shoppach, 33, hit just .196/.293/.346 in 125 plate appearances for the Mariners this season. However, he's a .224/.314/.413 career hitter in parts of nine seasons with the Indians, Rays, Red Sox, Mets and Mariners. He's particularly effective against left-handed pitching, having hammered southpaws to the tune of a .266/.355/.501 triple slash line throughout his career.
THURSDAY: The Mariners have released Shoppach, MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets. Shoppach is now on release waivers, and teams have until Saturday to decide whether to claim him.
Blanco, 41, is joining his 11th different Major League team. The veteran hit just .184/.262/.263 in 15 games (43 plate appearances) for the Blue Jays this season before being designated for assignment and ultimately released on Tuesday. He's seen time with the Cubs, D-backs, Braves, Brewers, Twins, Mets, Rockies, Dodgers, Padres and Blue Jays previously. Blanco owns a career batting line of .226/.291/.366.
Shoppach, 33, hit .196/.293/.346 with three homers in 35 games for the Mariners this season. He's been leaned upon heavily since the demotion of Jesus Montero, but rookie Mike Zunino figures to get the lion's share of playing time from this point forward. In his career, the right-handed-hitting Shoppach has hit .261/.355/.501 in 641 plate appearances against left-handed pitching.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Mariners announced that they have signed free agent catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one-year, Major League contract. The LSW Baseball client will earn $1.5MM in base salary and up to $500K in incentives.
Shoppach split the 2012 season between the Red Sox and Mets, appearing in 76 total games. The right-handed hitter posted a .233/.309/.425 batting line with eight home runs. In eight big league seasons, Shoppach has a .267/.358/.510 batting line against left-handed pitching. He earned $1.135MM last year and wasn't linked to any teams this offseason.