Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers celebrates his two-run home run with teammate David Murphy in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park April 18, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
It's looking more like Texas Rangers fans should prepare themselves for an entirely new look at the catcher position in 2013.
The free agent market, as expected, has picked up for Mike Napoli, who is the top free agent catcher on the market, and reports say he could be offered as much as $10-$12 million a year — at that money, he'll be in a uniform other than the Rangers' this next season. Napoli has been a good player for the Rangers, and had a historic run in 2011, but he's probably not in the Rangers' plans at that kind of money. Prior to 2012, the Rangers made him an offer in that neighborhood, but he went back to being Mike Napoli in 2012, which is nothing more than a .250-.260 hitter with 25 home run potential and a decent defensive catcher who can work well with pitching staff.
Another guy who can work well with a staff? Geovany Soto. But that's about all Soto is good for as he failed to breach .200 at the plate and had trouble throwing out baserunners (even though that's more of a stat reflecting a pitcher's ability to hold runners, generally). The former NL Rookie of the Year is due a $5 million club option, and could possibly be brought back but the Rangers probably don't want to spend that much on a guy that is so failed offensively.
There are plenty of serviceable options out there, though it's a pretty weak free agent catcher class. The Toronto Blue Jays now have a surplus of catchers, four to be exact. The Rangers could be interested in John Buck, J.P. Arencibia or hot prospect Travis D'Arnaud.
Look for one of those three to be brought in via trade as the Rangers' primary catcher, while either Soto or someone else would be the No. 2 catcher.
We should know something soon, regardless of what the Rangers decide.