I just found out who we received for our former Catcher and strikeout extrodinair Kelly Shoppach. Pitcher Mitch Talbot was received this morning in return for Kelly Shoppach, or as I have been calling him for the past few years, the Wiff-Meister. Talbot is a 26 year old right hander who got his first big league action for the Tampa Bay Rays last year, getting 3 appearances and 1 start with an ERA of 11.17 over 9.2 innings giving up 3 home runs and 12 earned runs. Apart from that brief and forgettable tenure with the Rays lat year, Talbot has had some good stats and good seasons in his 7 years of minor league ball. He is out of options and was added to the 40-man roster, it appears that he will get a chance to compete for a long-man roll in the bull pen or start the year as an extra starter getting his innings in AAA. Everything I can find out about Talbot suggests that he is a Jeremy Sowers-esque player. With a high 80’s to low 90’s fastball and a plus changeup and a slider. But, much like Sowers, what good is a really good changeup if it is the same speed as your fastball. We’ll see how things shake out come Spring Training time.
The Indians also made another spring-training invite/minor league contract signing. They picked up former Washington Nationals reliever Saul Rivera. He was a favorite of Manny Acta in Washington and in 2007 and 2008 put up really solid numbers, ERA’s of 3.68 and 3.96 in 93 and 84 innings respectively. He is a low-risk signing who could put up solid numbers and eat up a lot of innings out of the bullpen. He is coming off of a very bad season last year which saw the Nationals cut him when Acta was let go. Much like Jason Grilli, he has some ups and downs through his career, and he could go either way for us in 2010. If he struggles in either the majors or in AAA, then we can cut him and not lose out on any big time money. Another hum-drum addition to the roster, nothing too exciting but it is a signing that could impact things positively this year.