In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Geovany Soto, C
2014 stats: .262 batting average, .354 on-base percentage, 6 doubles, 1 home run, 11 RBIs in 24 games split between Texas (10) and Oakland (14); .986 fielding percentage, 43% caught stealing rate.
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Geovany Soto was a huge disappointment for the Rangers in 2014 after he entered spring training as the projected starter at catcher after a solid 2013 season as a backup to A.J. Pierzynski. In fact, he was so disappointing, he was shipped off to division rival Oakland for cash — always a sign of a give-up — in August.
But that doesn't mean Soto won't end up back in Texas in 2015, and apparently, the Rangers are one of about five teams in discussion with the free agent veteran this winter. Make no mistake, if Soto returns to Arlington, it'll be as a backup to Robinson Chirinos, who played well enough to earn the starting role last season. But Soto's addition would be big for a couple of reasons. First, he's familiar with the Rangers' pitching and has a great relationship with ace Yu Darvish after serving as his personal catcher in 2013. He also is plenty capable of serving as the everyday catcher should something happen to Chirinos.
For a guy like Soto coming off a year in which he barely saw the field and got arrested for marijuana possession in Grapevine before his trade to Oakland, the Rangers would have to pay a very minimal price on a one-year deal, and that'd be a perfect complement to Chirinos.