Tribe Signs Catcher Shoppach to One Year Deal

cleveland_indians_logoThe Indians recently signed their current back-up catcher Kelly Shoppach to a one year deal. Shoppach has been with the Tribe since the 2006 season when he was traded from the Boston Red Sox in an off season deal involving outfielder Coco Crisp and third baseman Andy Marte.

Shoppach’s role has grown since 2006 and last season he played in 112 games and garnered 352 at bats. The Tribe’s commitment to Shoppach creates a few questions with those who follow the organization.

With Shoppach becoming more and more a part of the team, and believed my many to call a much better game than incumbent starter Victor Martinez, it seems that those two may be fighting for a position. With Martinez spending a lot of time at first base in the last couple of years and sharing time with Ryan Garko down there, this gives the Indians a way to give Shoppach a rest while keeping Martinez in the line-up or using Garko as a designated hitter when Travis Hafner needs a day off.

This could open up some trade talks for Martinez or Garko. The club probably feels more loyalty to Martinez and with Garko slipping last year, the team may read his performance early in spring training to see how much they think he can contribute in 2009.

The Indians are optimistic about all of the players mentioned above and are going under the assumption that everything went wrong in 2008.

Bill Jordan is a contributor to He can be reached by e-mail at

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