Tag Archives: Russell Martin

Season Preview – NL West


We’re up to the last division left to review with the NL West. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West,  NL East, and NL Central.

Last Year’s Records
San Francisco – 92-70
San Diego – 90-72
Colorado – 83-79
Los Angeles – 80-82
Arizona – 65-97

Notable Additions

Arizona – Xavier Nady, Russell Branyan, J.J. Putz, Melvin Mora, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Colorado – Matt Lindstrom, John Maine, Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton, Felipe Paulino

Los Angeles – Marcus Thames, Matt Guerrier, Jon Garland

San Diego – Brad Hawpe, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Cantu, Aaron Harang

San Francisco – Miguel Tejada

Notable Losses

Arizona – Ryan Church, Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Webb

Colorado – Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, Jeff Francis

Los Angeles – Russell Martin, Ryan Theriot, Scott Podsednik

San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, Chris Young

San Francisco – Jose Guillen, Edgar Renteria

My Thoughts

Arizona – Under the leadership of new GM Kevin Towers, the Diamondbacks have already begun the process of rebuilding by trading away Mark Reynolds and letting Adam LaRoche and Brandon Webb leave via free agency.  They seem extremely unlikely to compete this season, but will look for improvements from Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.

Colorado – The Rockies spent their offseason spending money on contract extensions, as both Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki were signed to long term contract extensions. The team also did well to re-sign some of their free agents, most notably Jorge de la Rosa. This really seems like a team to me that has the chance to compete for the division title, providing they get a few breaks to go their way. They will look for a repeat performance from Ubaldo Jimenez and improvements from Jhoulys Chacin and Dexter Fowler as well.

Los Angeles – With the ownership situation in a state of partial disarray, the Dodgers didn’t really go out and spend a lot of money this offseason. They did resign free agent starter Ted Lilly, but otherwise did not make any large acquisitions. The pitching staff is excellent, but they will look for a bounce back season from Jonathan Broxton as the closer. The Dodgers are another team that seems to me like they can compete, providing they catch a few breaks.

San Diego – The biggest news out of the Padres this offseason unfortunately was the trade of star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. They have cut payroll down to a very minimal amount at this point, and could look to move closer Heath Bell if they fall out of contention. I am not seeing a repeat of last year’s 90 win performance out of this group of players, but I don’t think they are necessarily going to be terrible either. They will look for Mat Latos to build on his excellent 2010 season and try to take another step forward, but there’s a lot of questions after him in the rotation.

San Francisco – The reigning World Champions only had one slightly major acquisition (Tejada), but did well to resign Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff. Their pitching could conceivably be better than last year, with Madison Bumgarner making a full season of starts this year. 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey will be up for the full season this year, and top prospect Brandon Belt is not likely to be in AAA for very long either. This is a team that could compete for the NL crown again.

Overall Thoughts

The NL West has the Giants at the top, and then a lot of question marks behind them. I honestly think that any of the teams at 2 through 4 could finish in any order in those spots.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. San Francisco
2. Colorado
3. Los Angeles
4. San Diego
5. Arizona

Season Preview: AL East


With Spring Training well under way and the first games starting very soon, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made.

Last Year’s Records
Tampa Bay – 96-66
New York – 95-67
Boston – 89-73
Toronto – 85-77
Baltimore – 66-96

Notable Additions

Baltimore – Derrek Lee, Mark Reynolds, Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. Hardy, Justin Duchscherer

Boston – Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler

New York – Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Eric Chavez

Tampa Bay – Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, Felipe Lopez, Sam Fuld, Chris Archer

Toronto – Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Juan Rivera, Scott Podsednik, Brett Lawrie, Rajai Davis

Notable Losses

Baltimore – Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, David Hernandez, Kam Mickolio

Boston – Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly, Bill Hall

New York – Javier Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood

Tampa Bay – Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit

Toronto – Vernon Wells, Shaun Marcum, John Buck, Miguel Olivo, Scott Downs

Continue reading

Fantasy Rankings in Review – Catchers


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it, starting with catchers.

Original Draft Series: #8 – Los Angeles Dodgers


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #8: Los Angeles Dodgers

General Managers(since 1994)

Fred Claire (1994-1998): 397-347
Kevin Malone (1999-2001): 249-237
Dan Evans (2002-2003): 177-147
Paul DePodesta (2004-2005): 164-160
Ned Coletti (2006-Current): 349-299

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Last
0 0 7 6 4 4 2 0

All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Russell Martin 2002 – 17th Rd 8 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
667 gm, .272/.365/.396, 54 HR, 300 RBI, 66 SB
Currently with Org.
1B Paul Konerko 1994 – 1st Rd (13) 4 55 gm, .212/.271/.298, 4 HR, 16 RBI Traded to CIN – 7/4/98
2B Blake DeWitt
2004 – 1st Rd (28) 6 230 gm, .262/.340/.379, 12 HR, 86 RBI, 5 SB Traded to CHC – 7/31/10
3B Adrian Beltre Int’l FA – 1994 10 1 Silver Slugger
966 gm, .274/.332/.463, 147 HR, 510 RBI, 62 SB
Left via Free Agency – 10/28/04
SS Juan Castro Int’l FA – 1991 8+1+1 270 gm, .205/.258/.271, 3 HR, 32 RBI, SB Traded to CIN – 4/1/00
LF Shane Victorino 1999 – 6th Rd 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Rule 5 Selection of PHI – 12/13/04
CF Franklin Gutierrez Int’l FA – 2000 4 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to CLE – 4/3/04
RF Matt Kemp
2003 – 6th Rd 7 1 Gold Glove, 1 Silver Slugger
588 gm, .289/.338/.472, 81 HR, 310 RBI, 101 SB
Currently with Org.
DH James Loney 2002 – 1st Rd (19) 8 586 gm, .292/.350/.442, 53 HR, 337 RBI, 24 SB Currently with Org.
SP Ted Lilly 1996 – 23rd Rd 2+1 4-0, 1.29 ERA, 28 IP, 26 K, 4 BB Traded to MON – 7/31/98
SP Edwin Jackson
2001 – 6th Rd 4 6-4, 5.50 ERA, 75.1 IP, 48 K, 39 BB, 1.566 WHIP Traded to TAM – 1/14/06
SP Clayton Kershaw 2006 – 1st Rd (7) 4 24-20, 3.24 ERA, 436 IP, 448 K, 210 BB, 1.298 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Hiroki Kuroda
Int’l FA – 2007 3 25-28, 3.66 ERA, 448 IP, 321 K, 104 BB, 1.203 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Chad Billingsley 2003 – 1st Rd (24) 7 1 All Star Appearance
57-37, 3.58 ERA, 780 IP, 703 K, 338 BB, 1.365 WHIP
Currently with Org,
RP Hong-Chih Kuo Int’l FA – 1999 11 1 All Star Appearance
12-15, 3.34 ERA, 5 SV, 250.1 IP, 290 K, 101 BB, 1.194 WHIP
Currently with Org.
RP Joel Hanrahan 2000 – 2nd Rd 6 No Major League Appearances with Org. Left via Free Agency – 10/15/06
RP Dennys Reyes Int’l FA – 1993 5 2-7, 4.16 ERA, 75.2 IP, 69 K, 38 BB, 1.533 WHIP Traded to CIN – 7/4/98
RP Takashi Saito Int’l FA – 2006 3 1 All Star Appearance
12-7, 1.95 ERA, 81 SV, 189.2 IP, 245 K, 52 BB, 0.912 WHIP
Left via Free Agency – 12/12/08
RP Jonathan Broxton 2002 – 2nd Rd 8 2 All Star Appearances
23-16, 2.96 ERA, 77 SV, 367.1 IP, 483 K, 144 BB, 1.171 WHIP
Currently with Org.
CL Joakim Soria Int’l FA – 2001 3 No Major League Appearances with Org. Released – 10/12/04
BN Andy LaRoche
2003 – 39th Rd 5 62 gm, .217/.348/.316, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB Traded to PIT – 7/31/08
BN Delwyn Young 2002 – 4th Rd 6 110 gm, .267/.331/.394, 3 HR, 10 RBI, SB Traded to PIT – 7/31/08
BN Xavier Paul 2003 – 4th Rd 7 55 gm, .230/.281/.333, HR, 12 RBI, 3 SB Currently with Org.
BN Miguel Cairo Int’l FA – 1990 5 No Major League Appearances with Org. Traded to SEA – 11/29/95
BN A.J. Ellis
2003 – 18th Rd 7 38 gm, .159/.213/.183, 10 RBI Currently with Org.

June Amateur Draft

The Dodgers have done really well of late, getting a lot of their first round picks to the Majors in short order. Their current pitching staff relies on both Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw, who were both first round picks in the past 8 seasons. Blake DeWitt, recently traded to reacquire Ted Lilly, was also a first round pick, but he has not been quite the performer they expected yet. James Loney was also a first round selection, and has become a solid Major League regular. The team has also done well with other rounds, getting All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton (2nd), Gold Glove outfielder Matt Kemp (6th), and Delwyn Young (4th), who was used to help acquire Manny Ramirez during the 2008 season. Even some of the later round picks have been productive, with catcher Russell Martin being the best of the later round picks. There even have been some excellent players who didn’t really play much with the team, with both Paul Konerko and Shane Victorino becoming All-Star caliber players with different organizations.

International Free Agency

The Dodgers have always been considered to be one of the leaders in looking for new talent markets, and international free agency has done well for them as well. While they have had more success with some of the professional free agents they have signed (Takashi Saito and Hiroki Kuroda), they have also seen some success with signing young players out of both the Latin American countries as well as the Asian markets. Adrian Beltre had probably the best single season of any of the IFAs, earning himself a huge free agent contract after a 48 homerun seasonin 2004. They have also had some players who kind of got away who have turned into solid Major Leaguers, with Franklin Gutierrez and Joakim Soria the highest profile ones.

Overall Grade

A-. The Dodgers, who generally have a lot more money to play with than a lot of organizations, still do very well to build their team from the inside, and add pieces as needed. They have had their few players who were essentially given up on (Victorino, Soria), but they generally haven’t missed on too many of their high level prospects. The team has also had quite a few homegrown All-Stars, with Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Takashi Saito all representing the Dodger Blue. They also have a lot of high end prospects on their way in the minors, led by Dee Gordon, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Jerry Sands, and should continue to be competitive in the NL West.

Team Preview – Los Angeles Dodgers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Russell Martin SP 1 Vicente Padilla
1B James Loney SP 2 Clayton Kershaw
2B Blake DeWitt SP 3 Hiroki Kuroda
3B Casey Blake SP 4 Chad Billingsley
SS Rafael Furcal SP 5 Charlie Haegar
LF Manny Ramirez Bullpen
CF Matt Kemp CL Jonathan Broxton
RF Andre Ethier RP George Sherrill
Bench RP Hong-Chih Kuo
IF Jamey Carroll RP Ramon Troncoso
IF Ronnie Belliard RP Eric Stults

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Vicente Padilla Resigned 2B Orlando Hudson Free Agency
F Jamey Carroll Free Agency SP Randy Wolf Free Agency
IF Ronnie Belliard Free Agency SP Jon Garland Free Agency

Top Prospects: Chris Withrow (P), Devaris Gordon (SS), Ethan Martin (P)

2009 Review

The Dodgers were coming off a trip to the NLCS in 2008, and were looking to improve on that finish in 2009.  The biggest story of the offseason coming into 2009 was when or if Manny Ramirez was ever going to sign with the Dodgers. He did finally on March 4th, and the Dodgers came into camp with high expectations. They also added 2B Orlando Hudson in Spring Training, and went in as the prohibitive favorite for the NL West division. They got off to a fast start, until Manny Ramirez was suspended in early May for a 2nd failed drug test. The team kind of leveled off until Ramirez returned in early July. They did put it back together though, and were able to win their division with a 95-67 record, finishing 3 games ahead of the Wild Card Rockies. They swept the NL Central champion Cardinals, but were dispatched by the Phillies in 5 games.

The team was led on offense by CF Matt Kemp (.297, 26 HR, 101 RBI, 34 SB), RF Andre Ethier (31 HR, 106 RBI), and the shortened season of Manny Ramirez (.290, 19 HR, 63 RBI). The pitching staff was somewhat of a mixed bag, although they did get some excellent performances. 2nd year pitcher Clayton Kershaw pitched well, posting a 2.79 era, but averaging barely over 5 innings pitched. SP Randy Wolf pitched excellent (11-7, 3.23 ERA), and Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76 ERA) also helped to move the Dodgers forward. Midseason acquisition Vicente Padilla made 7 solid starts, finishing 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Dodgers have brought back Vicente Padilla, and will look to him to replace the production of free agent departee Randy Wolf. They will also look for OF Manny Ramirez to provide a full season of production as well. They have slotted in IF Blake Dewitt to be the starter at 2B, and will hope to get production out of their 5th starter spot from either Charlie Haegar, Russ Ortiz, or Ramon Ortiz. The lineup is stacked otherwise, and the top 4 starting pitchers are all solid as well. Someone who they are hoping to see a return to form will be C Russell Martin, after a season where he posted a .250 batting average with only 7 HR and 11 SB.

The story that seems to be dominating the headlines involving the Dodgers unfortunately, is the divorce of owner Frank McCourt. It remains to be seen what effect this will cause on the team and their spending, but it does seem odd to me that with some marquis free agents on the market, they didn’t spend for even one semi-big name. Although this can be explained by the fact that so many of their young players will be heading into arbitration in the coming seasons, and could be very costly in terms of payroll.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

The Dodgers have probably the 2nd best fantasy outfielder in all of baseball, with CF Matt Kemp. RF Andre Ethier, LF Manny Ramirez, and SP Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley are all ownable in all formats. For a deep sleeper, I like Blake Dewitt, as he could provide some value for leagues which require a MI. Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla are both starting pitchers who can also provide value in deep leagues as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Dodgers are the class of the NL West, and will compete for the NL Championship.

92-70, 1st in the NL West

Fantasy Preview – Catchers


I’m starting a new series on my personal fantasy rankings by position for the upcoming season. This series will be primarily posting on weekends, although I will also be posting occasionally during the week on fantasy as well.

The schedule can be found on the fantasy previews page at the top.

A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season

Without further adieu, my top 15 catchers for fantasy baseball in 2010.


1. Joe Mauer – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
94 28 96 4 .365
Mauer is really the class of his position at this point, as he’s a solid contributor in 4 of the 5 batting categories. Whether or not the power will continue remains to be seen, but it would be consistent with his age progression. He’ll be 27 this coming season, and the Twins have been good about making sure that Mauer gets days off from behind the plate, having him DH as well. At worst, you’re going to get a player that is likely to be a batting champion again next season, who will be hitting 3rd. The scary part of the numbers he posted last year was the fact that he still missed a large portion of a month of time as well. They could conceivably get better.



2. Victor Martinez – BOS
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 23 108 1 .303
It is really going to be interesting to see how Martinez does with a full season playing at Fenway, as he posted a .336/.405/.507 line while with the team. Part of the improvement is probably due to the improved lineup surrounding him, and bodes well for this season also. Martinez also qualifies at 1B, although it seems extremely unlikely you’d use him there in most situations. I think he could potentially see a jump in his power numbers with half his games at Fenway as well.

3. Brian McCann – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 21 94 4 .281
McCann seems to me like he’s a bit underrated. Here’s a player who is going to hit 20 homers, drive in almost 100 runs, and hit for a good average at a position that really doesn’t necessarily have a lot of players who do that. And he’s done it in the past, so he’s got a track record as well. The other thing I usually forget about McCann is that he is only going to be 26 starting this season. So potentially he could see a slight improvement in his numbers. Not that he needs them to stay at this ranking.

4. Miguel Montero – ARI
R HR RBI SB AVG
61 16 59 1 .294
Montero was really an epiphany last season, as he was finally able to get regular playing time. Playing in 128 games last year, I can see him posting a similar batting average while improving his home run total and RBI total as well. Another young catcher (26) who should see some growth as he will come into the season as the starter. He’s a player who is likely to fall in most drafts, as Chris Snyder is still in Arizona, and isn’t as sexy of a name as some of the players I’ll rank below him.

5. Matt Wieters – BAL
R HR RBI SB AVG
35 9 43 0 .288
One of last year’s favorite sleeper draft picks, many teams were stuck until Wieters’ midseason callup. This time around though, he’ll go into Spring Training as the starter. Wieters probably has more upside than Montero, as he could conceivably hit 20+ homers with a .300 average. The thing that puts Montero ahead of Wieters for me is the fact that you’re most likely going to have to draft Wieters much earlier than Montero. In current average draft position reports, Wieters is going 40 picks before Montero. I’ll wait and get Montero.

6. Jorge Posada – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
55 22 81 1 .285
Posada missed significant playing time last year, playing in only 111 games. At age 38, he’s not likely to improve too much on that game total this season. That said, I can still see him hitting 20 homers and driving in 80 runs in that vaunted Yankee lineup. Just be ready to have someone else to play for when he needs that time off.

7. Geovany Soto – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
27 11 47 1 .218
Soto was expected to build on a 23 hr campaign in 2008 last year, and failed miserably. His batting average on balls in play (.251) was partially to explain, as well as the strained oblique injury he suffered mid-season. Look for Soto to bounce back if that injury is completely healed, and approach 20 homers again.

8. Kurt Suzuki – OAK
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 15 88 8 .274
Suzuki is another one of those “un-sexy” picks, as his numbers are probably going to be similar to last year. Coming into his age-26 season, the A’s are going to need his production to be similar to 2009, and he shouldn’t disappoint. He’s unlikely to get to 20 homers, or even to repeat the 8 stolen bases he had last year, but at the catcher position he’s not going to kill you in any of the categories, which is pretty good at this point.

9. Russell Martin – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
63 7 53 11 .250
Martin was a big disappointment to his owners last season, as his power, batting average, and stolen base totals all dropped. While I think that he’s not likely to return to either his 19 hr career high, or his 21 stolen base career high, I do believe he will improve on last season, and return to his career batting average of .276, with double digit power and stolen bases. His run total should improve as well with that increase in batting average.

10. Mike Napoli – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
60 20 56 3 .272
I liked Napoli a lot last year, and he posted some solid numbers, especially in the home run category. He played 114 games last season, with 84 starts at catcher. He’s likely to post similar numbers providing he gets similar playing time to last season. The concern I have would be that with Hideki Matsui brought in to DH, he seems unlikely to get very much time as the DH. So he’s going to have to beat out Jeff Mathis to get the most playing time. If there were no concerns about playing time, I’d probably have him as high as 5th or 6th.

11. Bengie Molina – SFG
R HR RBI SB AVG
52 20 80 0 .265
Molina is another one of those players who’s not really going to kill you at the catcher position. He’s going to provide some good power, and drive in a good amount of runs. If you ever get a stolen base out of him, consider it a small miracle. Of some concern is what the Giants intend to do with prospect Buster Posey, as he is definitely the long-term answer at catcher for the Giants. Something to monitor as you get closer to your draft.

12. Ryan Doumit – PIT
R HR RBI SB AVG
31 10 38 4 .250
Doumit was injured for a large portion of the 2009 season, and as a result his numbers for 2009 don’t really reflect what he could do, in my opinion. Doumit is a lot more likely to give you somewhere near a .280 average, with between 15 and 20 homers. My only concern would be how he has recovered from the wrist injury he suffered last season, but the fact that he came back and hit .329 with 2 HR in September puts that to rest for me. He’s definitely got some risk, but there’s good upside here as well.

13. A.J. Pierzynski – CHW
R HR RBI SB AVG
57 13 49 1 .300
A.J. is most definitely not a sexy choice here as a catcher. But he’s probably going to give you double-digit homers, a batting average near .280 or better, and probably drive in about 50 runs. Hopefully, if you’re taking A.J., you’re also drafting a high-upside catcher as well. A.J. isn’t going to kill you at the position, but there’s really no upside here above what you would expect from him when you draft him.

14. Chris Iannetta – COL
R HR RBI SB AVG
41 16 52 0 .228
Iannetta is one of those players who should be really good for fantasy owners if he can pull it all together on a consistent basis. He has shown good power, and could conceivably hit 20+ in a season, especially in Colorado. He is unlikely to hit much more than about .260 in my opinion, but should have the chance to drive in a fair amount of runs in the Colorado lineup. Of some concern is the fact that Miguel Olivo, fresh off a 23 homer season in Kansas City, was signed to be his backup. Watch Iannetta carefully, as he could potentially lose his starting job at any time during the season.

15. Yadier Molina – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
45 6 54 9 .293
Yadier is one of those players who is definitely better in real-life than in fantasy. Although he doesn’t have the upside of some of the players ahead of him on my rankings, he remains likely to hit for a good average, and provide a little bit of power and a few steals. He’s the type of catcher who is probably best for a lineup with a pair of 40 homer hitters. Someone to look for if you still have no catcher later on, and are just looking for someone who isn’t going to kill any specific category.

Some prospects and deep-league sleepers to watch for:

Buster Posey (SF) – Posey was slated to be the starting catcher for the Giants until they resigned Bengie Molina. Lately, there have been rumors that Posey will work in the infield during spring training. However, it seems to me that if they are planning on him staying at catcher long-term, he’d be best served going back to AAA until they need him at the Major League level.

Carlos Santana (CLE) – Santana probably needs a full season at AAA, but if he gets the call and sees some consistent playing time, he could conceivably provide double-digit power and a high average even as a rookie. The only player standing in his way once he’s been at AAA is Lou Marson, who is a much better real-life catcher than fantasy player.

Adam Moore (SEA) – Moore is going into Spring Training as the starter for the Mariners. Another player who isn’t likely to provide a lot of fantasy value, Moore’s value really comes in 2-catcher leagues, as at-bats are crucial in those types of leagues.

Kelly Shoppach (TAM) – Shoppach was acquired by the Rays to be their starting catcher, and is only a season removed from a 21 homer, 67 rbi season. Consistent playing time is likely to help him further, but the Rays do still have last year’s starter Dioner Navarro on the roster.