Rays, Shoppach agree to $5.5 million, 2-year deal

Updated: January 5, 2010, 10:56 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kelly Shoppach and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed Tuesday to a $5.5 million, two-year contract.

The deal will pay the team's new catcher $2.25 million this year and $3 million in 2011. It includes a club option for a third season at $3.2 million or a $300,000 buyout.

The Rays obtained the 29-year-old Shoppach from Cleveland on Dec. 1 for a player to be named. They later sent right-hander Mitch Talbott to the Indians to complete the trade.

A .241 career hitter, Shoppach struggled last season after posting impressive numbers while filling in for an injured Victor Martinez with Cleveland in 2008.

After leading American League catchers with 21 homers two years ago, Shoppach batted .214 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 89 games last season. He is expected to compete with incumbent starter Dioner Navarro for playing time in Tampa Bay.

Four Rays remain eligible for arbitration: outfielder B.J. Upton, pitchers Matt Garza and J.P. Howell, and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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