The Boston Red Sox are currently faced with a situation where they have three capable starting catchers, but realistically only have two spots to fill.
Manager Bobby Valentine has said that he doesn't plan on keeping three catchers on the major league roster, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Jarrod Saltlamacchia will be the Opening Day starter for Boston, so it's between veteran Kelly Shoppach and prospect Ryan Lavarnway for the backup role.
The Kansas City Royals recently extended their future catcher Salvador Perez to a five-year contract, but surgery to repair a torn meniscus will keep him out of the first half of the 2012 season. That leaves a big void behind the plate for the Royals, to which they've rumored to have offered Ivan Rodriguez a contract.
Even though it's unlikely that Boston would deal Shoppach, who they just signed this past offseason, it is a possibility. Kansas City is in the market for a catcher to play the majority of the season who also can hit for average with decent power. Boston is still looking for a No. 5 starter and the Royals do have the ability to move one of their talented young pitchers.
Shoppach is hitting .214 in eight games this spring with three runs and only one RBI. Lavarnway is hitting .471 in 11 games with four runs and three RBI. Lavarnway also hit a home run in a "B" game earlier this spring against the Twins.
The issue that could arise if a deal was proposed is that Shoppach would have to approve any trade that he's involved with. This is because since he signed as a free agent, he has the right to refuse a trade made before June 15.
It may be a little early to promote Lavarnway to the majors permanently, but if the Royals ask about Shoppach, should the Red Sox really consider it?