According to the Mets, the team has traded a player to be named later for Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach. Rumors had the front office interested in the righty catcher for some time -- perhaps Boston's recent callup of Ryan Lavarnway was the harbinger for a willingness to part with their backup catcher. The Mets certainly needed a competent backup catcher, as they have been cycling between Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson with little success so far this season.
How much of an upgrade Shoppach will be over the current Mets backup catchers is uncertain. Of course, trumping the -.6 wins that Nickeas and Johnson put together won't be too hard -- Shoppach has managed 1.2 wins so far this season. And he has a career 139 wRC+ in 570 plate appearances against lefties, so his usage should be predictable and beneficial.
But the degree of upgrade isn't obvious. Max Marchi's excellent work on catcher defense had Shoppach as a bottom-ten defensive catcher going into the season. And while Matt Klaasen's work didn't have him as low, it did still rate his defensive work as a negative, and in the bottom third of catchers as recently as June. The catcher will give back some of his value with his work behind the plate.
That said, the tandem he'll replace wasn't great with the glove either, and this team has not placed a great emphasis on defense. That makes Kelly Shoppach a great fit for his new team, if only for the next six weeks. The 32-year-old will be a free agent for the first time this offseason, after making $1.35 million in his last year of arbitration.