Mets acquire catcher Kelly Shoppach from Red Sox

27 Comments

Based on their records it’s tough to tell which team is the buyer and which team is the seller here, but the 57-59 Red Sox have traded catcher Kelly Shoppach to the 55-60 Mets for a player to be named later.

Shoppach is an impending free agent, so the Mets are apparently picking him up in the hopes he can help them close what is a 9.5-game deficit for the Wild Card. Or something.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are parting with Shoppach because they have minor leaguer Ryan Lavarnway waiting in the wings to fill the “part-time catcher who crushes left-handed pitching” role as the backup for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Shoppach was a nice offseason pickup for the Red Sox, hitting .250 with five homers and a .798 OPS in 48 games after signing a one-year, $1.35 million deal as a free agent. He’ll split time with the left-handed-hitting Josh Thole in New York.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
Getty Images
6 Comments

Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.