Clearing a spot for 25-year-old top prospect Ryan Lavarnway to get more playing time behind the plate, the Red Sox traded veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Mets for a player to be named later.
Lavarnway – who hit .295 with eight home runs, 22 doubles, 43 RBI and a .815 OPS at Triple-A Pawtucket in 319 at-bats this season – is just 2-for-20 (.100) in seven games since making his Red Sox season debut on August 2. Still, the club is high on the Yale graduate who was Boston’s 2011 Co-Offensive Minor League Player of the Year (when he belted 32 home runs between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket).
A sixth round draft pick in 2008, Lavarnway has made tremendous strides with his defense and game calling. Recently, he was named the best defensive catcher in the International League in a poll of IL managers conducted by Baseball America.
The right-handed hitting Lavarnway will likely platoon with switch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who is better at the plate from the left side) and face lefties. Lavarnway is in Tuesday night’s lineup for the Red Sox, which will face Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
This marks the second time Shoppach has been traded by Boston, the team that drafted him in the second round out of Baylor University in 2001. Once considered the catcher of the future for the Red Sox, he was originally dealt to Cleveland before the 2006 season in a package that sent Coco Crisp to Boston.
Shoppach remained with the Indians for four years before he landed in Tampa Bay and hit .196 and .176 in 2010 and 2011 respectively. During the off-season, he signed a one-year, $1.35 million with Boston, batting .250 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 140 at-bats.
Shoppach expects to get more playing time with the Mets than he saw for the Red Since since New York manager Terry Collins is not satisfied with the production from his current backstop duo of Josh Thole and Rob Johnson.