Shoppach was a draft pick by the Red Sox in 2005, but they traded him to the Cleveland Indians in a package for Coco Crisp. He then played the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. There he was the back up to John Jaso, who got traded to Seattle this off season. With the signing of Jose Molina, the Rays filled Shoppach's role.
This signals the end of the Jason Varitek era in Boston. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will remain the starting catcher, but unless he flunks spring training, Shoppach will likely be the back up in Boston. This should be interesting for Ryan Lavarnway, who was previously expected to be the backup catcher this season. This likely means that he will see time in Triple A, at least to start the season.
This move also gives the Red Sox some much needed catcher depth, as this has been a hole for them for some time.