Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Texas signed catcher Geovany Soto yesterday to a one-year deal. The team is paying him about $3 million plus incentives and announced he will be their starting catcher. I can assure you Bob Johnson never got either $3 million a year or the starting job.
I have been thinking this deal over and I'm still not sure what to conclude. Soto is a serviceable defensive catcher with an average bat at best. Announcing he is the starter before the free agent season even opens is suspect in my mind. Of course, there are budget considerations and Texas might be looking to upgrade in other areas where bats are more plentiful. After all, good catching is at a premium all across baseball right now. That scarcity is going to result in bidding wars and somebody being tied into a long and expensive contract.
Speaking of long, the future might be another consideration. Most headline free agents are looking for multi-year deals. The Rangers only signed Soto for 2014 and only promised him the starting job for one year. There are a couple of young catchers in the system and maybe the front office is thinking they could be ready in 2015. If you have a hot hand coming up there's really no reason to overpay right now and end up with a logjam.
On the other side of things, a one year deal is a patch at best. It does nothing to stabilize the situation. If Soto has a good year he could hit the free agent market next year as a very desirable commodity. That could put the Rangers back on the hot seat if the young talent doesn't develop in time.
Either way, one thing is certain: Geovany Soto does not appear to be a long-term solution. He'll probably bat around seven or eight and be about average behind the dish. He'll also probably be gone after 2014 or be back to being a backup or platoon player.