The Angels announced that they’ve signed catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year, Major League contract. He’ll presumably pair with young catcher Carlos Perez as the Halos’ primary catching tandem. MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets that Soto will earn $2.8MM in 2016.
Soto, 33 in January, hit .219/.301/.406 in 210 plate appearances with the White Sox in 2015. While his 30 percent strikeout rate limited his batting average and on-base percentage, Soto walked at a healthy 10 percent clip and provided the ChiSox with defensive value as well. The former National League Rookie of the Year (2008) caught 30 percent of attempted base-stealers and rated 5.6 pitch-framing runs above average, per StatCorner.com’s catching report. Soto has never consistently stacked up to the Rookie of the Year production, he’s been a roughly league-average bat dating back to the 2010 season over the course of 1703 plate appearances.
Gonzalez adds (via Twitter) that with Soto’s signing, which comes just one day after former Angels catcher Chris Iannetta signed with the division-rival Mariners, the Angels sit about $20MM south of the luxury tax threshold. Considering the number of holes that new general manager Billy Eppler needs to fill — catcher, third base, second base, left field chief among them — the addition of Soto represents a low-cost upgrade that will allow the club to spend to address other areas on the roster. While the upcoming Dec. 2 non-tender deadline represents an avenue for most teams to save some cost, outfielder Collin Cowgill ($1MM arbitration projection) is the Angels’ only true non-tender candidate. As such, trades figure to be a more plausible means of creating some separation if the Angels do indeed wish to come in beneath the $189MM cutoff.