Seattle released Kelly Shoppach after designating the veteran catcher for assignment last week.
Shoppach was let go when the Mariners called up last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Mike Zunino, from Triple-A to take over as the starting catcher.
Shoppach hit just .196 in 35 games for the Mariners, but he’s always been stretched when asked to play regularly and is much better suited for a part-time role focused mostly on starting against left-handed pitchers. For his career Shoppach has hit .261 with an .856 OPS versus lefties compared to .204 with a .656 OPS versus righties, so it shouldn’t be surprising if he’s back in the majors soon with another backup gig.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.