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The Backup Paradox

Optioned C Kelly Shoppach to Buffalo (AAA)

Purchased the Contract of C Tim Laker from Buffalo (AAA); Recalled him to Cleveland

Transferred RHP Matt Miller to the 60-day Disabled List (elbow)

So you have a young catcher with a good arm and a good defensive rep, but unproven hitting skills. You also have the best offensive catcher in baseball, who almost never gets a day off. So this young catcher gets irregular at-bats, meaning that it's virtually impossible to get a good read on his offensive ability. So off he goes to AAA, where you'll find out nothing new.

But if you make Tim Laker your backup, does that not encourage Victor Martinez to play even more? Laker had just a single at-bat in the majors last season, and is 36 years old. All this does is to push off answering the Shoppach question another year, when he'll be out of options.

If the Indians are taking the opportunity to showcase Shoppach for a trade, then this makes a bit more sense. But from a 25-man roster standpoint, it's obviously a downgrade. Shoppach will never be the starting catcher for the Indians barring injury, but he can be a useful or even a valuable part of the team if he can just get more at-bats. Which, of course, means sitting Victor Martinez more often.

Sometimes you have to take a small leap of faith to better the team in the long-run, and the Indians have been content to keep their feet firmly on the ground. Would it really kill the offense to rest Victor once every five days?