Before the game last night, Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters that he would like Kelly Shoppach to return to the Mets next season.
According to Collins, Shoppach has a sharp defensive game and he credits him for how he’s handled the pitching staff, particularly getting them to pitch inside more.
Shoppach, who turns 33 next Spring, is a career .228 hitter, but has enjoyed some moderate success since the Mets acquired him, batting .255 with three home runs in 17 games with the Amazins.
The right-handed hitting catcher signed one-year, $1.35 million deal with the Red Sox last winter to be thier backup catcher. There’s quite a buzz going around that if the Mets do bring him back they intend to use him as a regular catcher. It’s all speculation at this point, but the mere suggestion of it makes my skin crawl even if it was only intended to be a one-year stop gap.
Last week I read that Shoppach will most likely command a two year deal and considerably more than his current salary, but again that’s just more speculation and in the end he’ll get paid whatever the market will bear.
My wish for the catching position is this; making sure Josh Thole does not come back under any circumstances, and an honest attempt to bring a legitimate everyday catcher to the Mets as we start to bring up some of our top pitching prospects.
In my opinion Shoppach, like Thole, are not everyday catchers. As a matter of fact once the Mets started giving Shoppach more regular playing time, he has declined defensively and offensively. He is batting .182 in the last 14 days, and in that span his fielding percentage has dipped to .963, a terrible mark for a backstop.
My advice to Terry Collins would be to focus on doing his job as best as he can, and let Sandy Alderson do the same with his job.