Tribe ships Shoppach to Rays

The Indians shopped catcher Kelly Shoppach and found a taker before the Dec. 12 non-tender deadline.

Shoppach has been traded to the Rays for a player to be named. The player must be determined by Dec. 20.

That the Indians got anything in return for Shoppach is a bit of a surprise, because he was sure to be granted free agency at the non-tender deadline. He made $1.95 million last year, as his performance slipped, and the second round of arbitration would have provided him with a raise that the Indians weren’t all that willing to absorb.

Shoppach’s arbitration situation is in the Rays’ hands now. As for the Tribe, they have Lou Marson, Wyatt Toregas and, to a lesser degree, Chris Gimenez on board to handle the catching duties, with Carlos Santana on the horizon at Triple-A Columbus. It’s still possible the Indians would look for a veteran catcher in free agency, but I wouldn’t count on it.

32 Comments

Shocking indeed. However, a great move for us. It opens another spot on the 40-man roster, and perhaps we’ll look to grab someone in the Rule 5 Draft. It’s a bit unfortunate we couldn’t protect Matt McBride and trade Shoppach a week or two ago…

I am said to see Kelly Shopach go. I wish him nothing but the best.

Wow. I was of the same mind as AC on this, but I’ll take it.
I think we’ve got our catcher situation worked out now, it would seem — some combo of Marson and Toregas until Santana is ready. I would expect Marson to get the starting job.

Can someone please educate me on the “player to be named” system? I get the idea of the whole thing, but there obviously have to be some guidelines to it. I doubt we can ask for Evan Longoria.

I’m not entirely positive on this, but I believe they basically traded for a list of possible players that both teams agree upon. So there’s a list, presumably without Longoria’s name on it, that the Tribe has to choose from before Dec. 20th. So between now and then they have to pick one of those players.
They never seem to publish those lists, though.

Thanks, LACF. That makes sense to me. That way the Tribe can take their time deciding which player they want to choose, and hopefully make the right decision.

It will be interesting to see how the Rule 5 and the ptbn work out … if McBride and/or Pino are taken, they better get a prospect who’s at least on par with them from this trade. Personally I’d have released Shoppach earlier and put Pino on the roster, why roll the dice and risk having a prospect they like get plucked away so they can choose from some Rays’ Rule 5 rejects? With McBride at least it’s somewhat unlikely that he’d stick on a team’s 25-man roster if he were chosen, but Pino I have to think will be taken and has a decent shot at earning a major league spot, since if he is on the Indians roster he’ll certainly be in the competition for a spot this spring

I wonder what sort of return we’d get. I would think it would be similar to Garko’s deal (return of a low level pitching arm with promise). They are similar products, all things considered. Although, we did get the best prospect in our system from Casey Blake. So, who knows. That wasn’t really expected to me at the time. Really, the only thing I would think the Indians would be needing to fill immediately in a trade like this would be a starting pitcher. An unproven MLB level guy like Sonnanstine might not be out of the question. I guess we’ll see soon. I haven’t seen anything yet with what names might be on the list.

I’m not really necessarily saying that a AAA guy or low level MLB starter would be likely. I’m more or less curious what we can get. I wasn’t really expecting anything significant in return for Shoppach before today.

Yeah, I let my hopes get the better of me. I have a bad habit of that. Realistically, I think as I initially mentioned, something similar to the Garko deal would be more likely.

I wouldn’t change your expectations too much, jkrumwiede. I would expect that we’re looking at a ratio situation, in that the better the player, the lower the level they’ll come from. Our best bet, at this point, is probably a good A prospect, possibly a good AA prospect. I think anything above that is going to be mediocre at best.
Still, as ST pointed out, this will sting if we lose a guy like Pino or McBride, just given the timing and all.

Wow I cannot believe they found a taker for this guy. This time last year I was highly optomistic about Shop splitting time with Victor given his power numbers in ’08. But he didn’t step up when he was given the chance. I guess the Rays are hoping they can make a few tweaks and fulfill some of that potential, but why not wait til he’s nontendered and get him on the cheap? Any chance we don’t see Santana in Cleveland by the end of 2010 now?

The Rays are known to have a good farm system, so I am happy that we get to choose from their team. Some of their “Rule 5 rejects” are probably better than a good amount of prospects in most organizations. The Rule 5 Draft is December 12, and we don’t need to decide who we take until the 20th. They would be smart to wait and see how the draft turns out for us, and then choose our guy.

Perhaps I am a glass half full kind of guy. Perhaps we fans depend upon numbers more than actual talent/potential b/c well, we don’t see these minor league guys in person. Maybe Shapiro actually thinks McBride will pass through the draft. Maybe Pino gets drafted but doesn’t stick with that team an entire year. Perhaps us fans would rather keep those that we know (McBride, Pino) rather than gamble on what we don’t (the unprotected R5D “rejects”). Either way I can only hypothesize.

But I look at this trade by Shapiro as the ultimate poker game maneuver. Follow me on this one. Everyone knew we would not offer Shoppach arbitration. Not only do we unload his contractual obligation but we get a PTBNL in return whereas if we did nothing our compensation is nothing. Furthermore, and most importantly IMO, Shapiro has seen the cards (aka FMR) of the other teams in the league. We now have a roster spot open to access and evaluate in the draft. Shapiro had a potential ace up his sleeve in terms of a roster spot, found a taker for Shoppach and now comes out smelling like roses.

This is the first move by Shapiro in quite some time to which I have seen his often overlooked bigger picture mentality. Or I am romanticizing this move and it will make no difference.

The simple fact that he got anything for Shoppach, given the circumstances, makes this a win in my eyes.

Huh. Jason Grilli signed to a minor league deal. All I remember from him is that we could always count him to blow a lead for the Tigers in ’07.

Woa, busy day for minor league deals. From MLBtraderumors.com:

“4:09pm: The Indians also signed Brian Buscher, Mike Gosling, and Luis Rodriguez to minor league deals, according to a team press release.

Buscher, 29 in April, has a career line of .266/.343/.356 with the Twins, mainly at third base. Gosling, 29, tossed 25 innings for the Indians last year with a 5.04 ERA. He posted a 4.81 ERA in an additional 67.3 Triple A innings. Rodriguez, 29, had a career-high 251 plate appearances with the Padres this year but hit just .202/.319/.260. He’s capable of playing all around the infield.”

Interesting. They all seem to be decent signings, given the positions.

The CPD seems to think the PTBNL will be Willy Aybar. He has played everywhere in the IF equally, except SS. His offensive numbers aren’t honestly terrible for a part time, utility infielder. I’ll trade him for Shoppach any day.
Also, he seems to have spent most of his time at 3B. Maybe this would be more Peralta insurance.

Sorry, the original source on that was indiansprospectinsider.com.

Interesting. Aybar was once supposed to be a key player in the Dodgers’ future, so at least at some point he was supposed to have real potential. He’s got speed, too, which makes me wonder if he’ll end up in the utility infielder role. That’s actually not a bad move, if it happens, as it would save us money and prevent us from keeping oen of our younsters on the bench for most of the season as a back-up.

Baseball America ranked the Tribe as having the 5th best farm system in baseball:

“5. Indians: Cleveland has traded many of the key players from its 2007 playoff team. That’s cold comfort to Tribe fans, but many of the prospects acquired in those trades now give the Indians one of the game’s top farm systems. The organization’s top arms, right-hander Jason Knapp and left-hander Nick Hagadone, both were trade pickups, with Knapp coming from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee deal and Hagadone from Boston as the key piece in the Victor Martinez trade. Catcher Carlos Santana, acquired from the Dodgers for Casey Blake, is a switch-hitting offensive force who was the MVP of the Eastern League in 2009, and 2008 first-round pick Lonnie Chisenhall reached Double-A in his first full pro season.”

Ok, Indians Prospect Insider rescinded his original speculation about the possibility of Aybar. Apparently, a PTBNL cannot be traded to the same league in which he played the majority of the previous season (or something resembling that). I wasn’t aware of that. He now has a list of minor league pitchers on his list, the most likely being Aneury Rodriguez (RHP). Lastoria claims his stuff is similar to Jeanmar Gomez. However, I’m not sure I’m crazy about his stats thus far. At least, not right now. Maybe he will develop. I’m not too familiar with the Rays’ farm system, but he didn’t make the 40-man roster for protection for the Rule 5 draft. He must be a new addition too, as he played last season as one of the famed “Modesto Nuts,” an advanced-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies (As an Oklahoman, most professional games I attend are the Colorado Rockies AA affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers. We see a lot of Modesto Nuts called up throughout the season). We’ll see what happens by Dec. 20th. The could be a whole new batch of speculative players by then.

When I say last season, I mean 2008. I haven’t shifted gears yet. Rodriguez played all of 2009 in AA and 2008 in adv-A.

Yikes, he’s definitely not going to supplant Grady in the hearts of the women of Cleveland, that’s for sure!
I’m kind of surprised he was at AA last year, given his stats from A. You have to appreciate a guy who played for the Nuts and then went on to play for the Biscuits.
Yeah, his numbers aren’t overwhelming, but another arm in the system is another arm in the system — never know what will happen. They might be smart to start him off at advanced A, though.

Huh. It seems that the Pirates are going to be looking for a Rule 5 player to pick up and, in preparation of that, the Bucco Fans web site is doing a break down of the best available players. Their #1 RHP, as follows:

“Aneury Rodriguez, RHP, TB

Rodriguez might be one of the top options in the 2009 Rule 5 draft. He was the number 16 prospect in the Colorado Rockies farm system before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for starting pitcher Jason Hammel. Rodriguez was coming off of a strong season in high-A in which he posted a 3.74 ERA, with an 8.0 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9 in 156.1 innings pitched. In 2009 he made his AA debut, with a 4.50 ERA in 142 innings, plus a 7.0 K/9 and a 3.7 BB/9.

Rodriguez has a 91-92 MPH fastball with late movement, and a curveball that serves as an out pitch. He is 6′ 3″, 180 pounds, and turns 22 next week. He still has a little bit of room to grow, and still fits that “projectable” label, despite being at the AA level. Rodriguez also has a strong changeup, leading to a .192 BAA versus left handers in 2009.”

Also on the list:

“Yohan Pino, RHP, CLE

Just like Steven Johnson and the Orioles, the decision by Cleveland to leave Yohan Pino unprotected is interesting. Cleveland traded Carl Pavano to Minnesota for a player to be named later. That player ended up being Pino, who had a 2.82 ERA in eight starts with Minnesota’s AAA team, with a 7.8 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9. Pino only made two starts with Cleveland’s AAA team, but had a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings, with a 9.0 K/9, and a 1.3 BB/9.

Pino mostly relies on off-speed pitches, with a great curveball and slider. He only throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s, which is a testament to his secondary pitches when considering his high strikeout ratio and low velocity. Pino can pitch out of any role, and has had success so far in every role he’s been in. He turns 26 later this month, but could step right in to the major league bullpen with ease, considering the success he saw in AAA in 2009.”

I don’t see why the Pirates would risk a Rule 5 pickup on this “A-Rod” kid. While there may be some promise after some development, I think he’s pretty far away from being MLB ready. I don’t see how he could succeed on a 25-man roster for a whole season. They could “try him out” and if it doesn’t work, expose him to waivers. However, it doesn’t seem like it’s worth it, as he probably isn’t ready to make that sort of jump. To me, Yohan Pino would be a much safer choice. He has started 10 games at AAA, and complied a 2.83 ERA for the entire season (AA-AAA). To me, he could likely succeed in the NL, whether it be in the bullpen or back end of the rotation. It would be the best use of the draft, between the two players.
On a related note, I really don’t understand why they protected Kelvin De La Cruz at all. He started the year in adv-A, and I think he had elbow problems. What MLB team out there would rationally think that he could make that transition, and work out on a 25-man roster? Also, if whatever reasoning put De La Cruz as a player to be protected, why didn’t that same reasoning put Hagadone as a protected player instead? He didn’t do as well in adv-A as De La Cruz, but he wasn’t injured, and he is a higher profile prospect. Or, more reasonably, why wasn’t Pino protected? He has more of a chance to impact a club this year than Hagadone or De La Cruz. I think he might have had a shot at getting some playing time in Cleveland at some point, given the problems and instability of our rotation. I guess this is the problem of having a farm flush with prospects.

jk I don’t believe Hagadone is Rule 5 eligible, he was drafted by Boston in ’07. Of course I don’t understand De la Cruz being added either, unless due to his injury last year the selecting team could put him on the DL. Otherwise there’s just no way anyone would keep him on their ML roster, his highest level of experience is 12 innings pitched in Kinston, not to mention that he’s coming off a serious arm injury which is a concern going forward … by no means is he a can’t miss prospect. I figure Pino will definitely be taken and will likely make a ML roster, he’s the only guy left unprotected who has a good shot at remaining on the selecting team’s roster. I guess they just don’t think much of him. His numbers in AAA in ’09 were outstanding across the board, so I’m not really sure why that’s the case, and why bother getting him from Minnesota if they have no plans on keeping him? This qualifies as the weird roster move of the year … last year I questioned why they didn’t have JD Martin on the roster when he put up the best numbers of anyone in AA or AAA, and Martin ended up pitching decently for the Nationals

There is an activity rule that keeps teams from picking up prospects and placing them on the DL. I’m not sure what the specifics are, though. However, I read something somewhere today that said if a prospect is below AA, they can still be claimed if “promoted” to AA or AAA. Same activity rules apply. I hadn’t heard that before, and I don’t know how accurate it is. Also, does someone know if there is compensation to the team who lose the prospects? Perhaps a higher draft pick?

jk, I did not know that about the promotion rule in the R5D. If that is accurate then some of the decisions by Shapiro and company makes more sense now. We all seem to think that Pino is pretty much gone, among others with a high(er) probability to be selected (per AC’s list: McBridge, Lofgren, Smith, Wright, Grilli).

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