Originally posted on Ted's Army  |  Last updated 12/13/11


Kelly Shoppach, the once-promising catcher that Boston traded after the 2005 season because, well, the Sox had Jason Varitek behind the plate, is re-joining the team, signing a one-year $1.35 million deal.

Via ESPN.com:

The Boston Red Sox have reached agreement on a one-year major league contract with free-agent catcher Kelly Shoppach, a baseball source told ESPN.com. The deal is expected to be announced sometime Tuesday.

A source said Shoppach will make a base salary of $1.35 million, plus performance bonuses.

Shoppach made $3 million last year in Tampa Bay, where he hit .176 in 87 games. His signing appears to officially signal the end in Boston for Jason Varitek. Shoppach joins incumbent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who hit .235 with 16 homers and 56 RBIs in 103 games for the Red Sox last season.

The signing is a little curious.  Although Varitek hasn't been a threat at the plate for some time, he actually put up better numbers than Shoppach last season.

Varitek batted .221, had a .300 OBP, slugged .423 with a .723 OPS.  He also hit 11 HR with 36 RBIs over 68 games.  Shoppach, on the other hand, hit .176 with a .268 OBP, slugged .339, with a .607 OPS.  He also hit 11 homers with only 22 RBIs in 87 games. 

Although, as Jerry Crasnick points out, Shoppach's career .909 OPS against lefties is fourth-highest in the majors, which makes him a good alternative to Saltalamacchia, who has a .603 OPS against left-handed pitchers.

But the bigger story here is this is certainly the end of the Varitek era.  We wanted change, and we're getting it.

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