Ryan Lavarnway a Star in the Waiting?

The time is now for Ryan Lavarnway.  He is already 25 years old and the Sox can ill afford to keep putting his career on hold.  The Sox don’t have the flexibility to carry three catchers on the 25 man roster, which makes the signing of Kelly Shoppach a real head scratcher.  It was obvious the Sox weren’t going to keep Varitek and yesterday’s retirement was probably a year or two later than it should have been.  Why sign Shoppach when they already had Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway ready to take over?

We have seen potential stars wait in the wings for their turn.  Steve Young waited patiently behind Joe Montana and most recently, Aaron Rodgers carried a clip board for Brett Favre for many years.  Well, Lavarnway is about to hit the prime of his career and he has waited long enough.  In his first at bat of the spring yesterday, Lavarnway hammered an inside pitch for a 380 ft home run.  Granted it was a B”game, but still.  The Red Sox real concern is how Lavarnway handles the catching position defensively.  This is a legitimate concern.  He will probably never be a game caller like Varitek, but who ever will?

The Sox haven’t had a power hitting catcher since Carlton Fisk.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a catcher that didn’t look like an automatic out for a change?  Saltalamacchia showed glimpses of a catcher that could hit last year but like most Sox, faded badly towards the end. 

I say cut or trade Shoppach and rotate Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway all year.  This team needs to utilize its youth and Lavarnway is a good start to that process.

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Tags: Jarrod Saltalamacchia Jason Varitek Kelly Shoppach Ryan Lavarnway


    Lavarnway’s still raw defensively. He’s not going to progressively develop sitting on the bench half to most of the time.
    The Shoppach deal is a solid one year signing. He led the AL in caught stealing percentage (a polar opposite to our backup catcher situation last season). It’s an underscored element to our pitchers struggling. They had to work harder for the extra out and many of those basestealers wound up scoring. Provides more depth too. Say Salty and Lavarnway get hurt. Would you really want Exposito and Max St. Pierre as your interim tandem?
    Now if Shoppach doesn’t play well and Lavarnway shows great progress in AAA, they’ll cut the former and call up the latter. But we should be rooting for both to do well, Shoppach to depart as a FA this offseason, and Lavarnway to supplant him in 2013.