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The Red Sox have signed backup catcher Kelly Shoppach, a former Sox farmhand, to a one-year, $1.35 million deal. With Shoppach, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and Luis Exposito as catchers on the 40-man roster, it likely means the Red Sox will not re-sign longtime catcher and captain Jason Varitek, who played just 68 games last season, hitting .221/.300/.423.
Last year, the 31-year-old Shoppach hit just .176/.268/.339 in 87 games, but has crushed lefties in career to the tune of .274/.373/.536. That should make him a nice compliment to Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter who has fared much better in his career against righties (.256/.331/.441) than lefties (.207/.262/.341).
As usual, the Red Sox avoided arbitration with one of their players, agreeing on a one-year, $1.075 million deal. Albers had a terrific first half (2.55 ERA, 1.25 WHIP), but slumped badly in the late months (7.36 ERA, 1.67 WHIP).
The Red Sox also elected not to tender Rich Hill a contract. The lefty is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He told WEEI’s Alex Speier that he would like a major league offer from a team, but if no one comes calling, he would consider returning to Boston on a minor-league contract.
The Red Sox tendered contracts to 22 players currently under team control, including Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who are both eligible for arbitration for the second time. Both will likely see pay raises.
As for the other 20 players…
These players eligible for arbitration for the first time all were tendered contracts:
These players not yet eligible for arbitration also were tendered contracts: