Tampa Bay Rays Catcher Kelly Shoppach Signs Two-Year, $5.5M Deal; Deal Includes Club Option for 2012

Update (4 PM): The deal is official. Per the presser, it's two-years worth a guaranteed $5.5M and a club option with an unspecified amount of cash. As part of the contract, Shoppach will make annual contributions to the Rays Baseball Foundation which resembles stipulations included in multiple Rays extensions. Here's the rest of the presser:

Shoppach (SHOP-pick), 29, was acquired on December 1 from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named (right-handed pitcher Mitch Talbot).  He hit .214 (58-for-271) last season with 12 home runs, 14 doubles and 40 RBI in 89 games.  In addition, he was hit by 18 pitches to lead the American League.  In 2008 he led all AL catchers with 21 home runs, and his 32 homers as a catcher over the last two seasons are tied with Joe Mauer for second most in the AL behind Mike Napoli (40).  He is a career .241 (219-for-909) hitter with 43 home runs and 141 RBI over parts of five seasons with the Indians (2006-09) and Boston Red Sox (2005).

A right-handed hitter, Shoppach owns a career .295 (65-for-220) batting average against left-handed pitchers with 17 home runs, 47 RBI, a .386 on-base percentage and .614 slugging percentage.  His career .999 on-base plus slugging (OPS) vs. lefthanders leads active catchers and ranks sixth among all active players (min. 200 at-bats).

This comes way of Jerry Crasnick on Twitter:

Catcher Kelly Shoppach signs 2-year, $5.5 million deal with Rays to avoid salary arbitration, according to a baseball source.

Shoppach made roughly $2M last season. That means, barring a back-loaded deal, he will receive a little more this season. What's interesting is that this deal locks Shoppach in next year as well, which would've been his final year of arbitration. Such an agreement safeguards against a collapse (Shoppach) but also disallows for a breakout-season raise. Neither of which seems overly probable, but sometimes baseball is funny.

And Crasnick adds this:

The contract takes Shoppach through his final two years of salary arbitration, and includes a club option for his first year of free agency.

Nifty.

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