Rays start Dioner Navarro over Kelly Shoppach

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When the Rays acquired Kelly Shoppach from the Indians this offseason I wondered what type of role that left for Dioner Navarro, because while the two catchers could form a platoon Tampa Bay seemingly paid too high a price for Shoppach to play him just 2-3 times per week.
The jury is still out in terms of how the playing time behind the plate will ultimately shake out, but manager Joe Maddon announced that Navarro will start the Rays’ opener tonight. However, he added that the decision was based on the matchup against Orioles starter Kevin Millwood and doesn’t necessarily mean Navarro will get the nod again tomorrow versus fellow right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (or future right-handers).
Shoppach is a right-handed hitter who has crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .295 batting average and .999 OPS while hitting just .224 with a .704 OPS versus righties. That seemingly makes him a candidate to sit against righties in favor of the switch-hitting Navarro, except Navarro has an even lower career OPS versus righties and had the worst OPS of any AL hitter with at least 400 plate appearances in 2009.

The Nationals acquire Marc Rzepczynski from the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  Marc Rzepczynski #35 of the Oakland Athletics throws against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.

Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.

On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.

 

Video: Minor leaguer dives over the wall to rob a home run

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Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.

Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: