Geovany Soto Rumors

NL West Notes: Shields, Stewart, Dickerson

It’s been a wild day of major moves in the NL West, and here are a few more news items from around the division…

  • The Giants don’t intend to pursue Max Scherzer, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter link).
  • The Giants “will go hard on” signing James Shields, Peter Gammons tweets.
  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart told reporters (including Zach Buchanan of azcentral.com)  that Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro or Tigers catcher Alex Avila could be fits for his team in their search for help behind the plate, while the Snakes have no interest in Geovany Soto.  Stewart said his team doesn’t intend to trade relief pitching to obtain a catcher, however.
  • Also from Stewart, he said the D’Backs aren’t looking into extending any players at the present time, though he named Mark Trumbo, Addison Reed, Oliver Perez, Chris Owings, Chase Anderson and A.J. Pollock as possible extension candidates.
  • The Rockies are receiving “massive interest” in Corey Dickerson, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  Despite all this interest, Colorado would have to get an overwhelming offer to deal the outfielder.
  • Also from Rosenthal, it’s been nothing but “crickets” for the Rockies on interest in Troy Tulowitzki.

Free Agent Notes: Melky, Ervin, Headley, Miller, Soto

The Royals have reached out to a familiar name in the form of Melky Cabrera, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s not clear if the Royals are able to afford Cabrera, who is said by Heyman to be seeking “at least” a five-year deal. He notes that the Reds have also contacted Cabrera’s camp. Additionally, Heyman lists the Mariners, Orioles and White Sox as speculative fits. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet tweets that the Blue Jays are still in touch with Cabrera as well. As many have pointed out, Toronto has just three outfielders on its 40-man roster at present. I profiled Cabrera in early October and projected a five-year deal worth just over $66MM.

Some more notes from the free agent market…

  • Also seeking a five-year deal is right-hander Ervin Santana, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Santana is among the best of the bunch in the second tier of free agent starters, and he’s been rumored to have mutual interest with the Royals. However, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star tweets that the Royals’ comfort level is at three years with Santana. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected a four-year, $56MM contract for Santana.
  • Continuing on the theme of five-year contracts, Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York reports that the Yankees aren’t willing to give Chase Headley a five-year deal, and it’s believed by some that five years is now his asking price in the wake of both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez signing in Boston. An alternative for the Yankees, Matthews writes, is to play Martin Prado at third base regularly and give prospect Rob Refsnyder a chance to be the everyday second baseman.
  • The Yankees, Red Sox and Astros are all continuing to show strong interest in free agent lefty Andrew Miller, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miller is believed to be headed for a four-year deal, and the Astros have been somewhat surprisingly linked to him and fellow top reliever David Robertson.
  • Geovany Soto is currently talking to five or six teams, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. A reunion between Soto and the Rangers is a definite possibility, per Cotillo. The free agent market for catchers has few options remaining, putting Soto in a relatively good spot.
  • Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that 10 teams, including the Tigers, have reached out to free agent righty Ronald Belisario after he was designated for assignment by the White Sox and chose to elect free agency (Twitter link). Belisario has a track record of success but struggled in 2014 despite maintaining his velocity and ground-ball rate.
  • Nyjer Morgan is eyeing a return to the Majors and has drawn interest from both MLB and Asian clubs, tweets Cotillo. The 34-year-old spent a bit of time with the Indians last season but had his Cleveland tenure cut short by injury.

Athletics Acquire Geovany Soto

The Athletics have acquired catcher Geovany Soto from the Rangers, according to a tweet from Mark Madson. The Rangers will receive cash considerations for Soto, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweets. The Athletics announced that they cleared space for Soto on their 40-man roster by moving Kyle Blanks to the 60-day DL.

The 31-year-old Soto has played sparingly this season due to injury, but he’s now healthy, and he was very effective in 2013, hitting .245/.328/.466 in part-time duty. The Athletics already have two good catchers in Derek Norris and John Jaso on their active roster, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Jaso has recently experienced worsening concussion symptoms and will likely need a stay on the disabled list. And as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets, Stephen Vogt, another catcher on the active roster, is currently dealing with a foot issue that makes catching difficult. (Vogt can also play first base and outfield.) Soto could see time at DH as well as behind the plate, but he has no significant history at any other position.

Soto, a former National League Rookie of the Year (with the Cubs), re-signed a one-year, $3.05MM contract with the Rangers this offseason. He’s owed $600K through the end of the season, at which point he will be a free agent. Soto is hitting .237/.237/.368 this season, although that comes in a small sample of just 38 plate appearances. In 2483 Major League plate appearances, Soto is a .248/.333/.438 batter.



Added To The 40-Man Roster: Sunday

The rosters for Opening Day were officialy submitted this afternoon. Several minor league signees have won jobs with their clubs and earned 40-man roster spots. Here are today's additions:

  • The Rangers announced they have purchased the contract of infielder Josh Wilson. After designating Adam Rosales for assignment and placing catcher Geovany Soto on the 60-day disabled list, there remains one opening on the Rangers' 40-man roster.
  • The Diamondbacks announced they have added right-hander Daniel Hudson to the 40-man roster and promptly placed him on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from his second Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks last December.
  • The Cubs announced they have purchased the contracts of right-hander Brian Schlitter and catcher John Baker and placed right-hander James McDonald on the 60-day disabled list. The Cubs' roster now stands at 40. 

Geovany Soto Tears Meniscus, Out 10-12 Weeks

Rangers catcher Geovany Soto has torn his lateral meniscus and will miss ten to twelve weeks recovering from surgery, reports Jeff WIlson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). He becomes the latest in a series of Rangers to suffer significant injuries.

With Soto on the shelf, free agent signee J.P. Arencibia figures to handle most of the load in the earlygoing, though manager Ron Washington would not commit to giving the starting nod to the former Blue Jay regular. 29-year-old Robinson Chirinos is the only other player that Texas has under contract who comes with MLB experience (just 90 plate appearances).

With roster decisions being finalized in the coming days, it would not be surprising to find Texas in the market for another backstop. As MLBTR's Charlie Wilmoth wrote in reviewing the club's offseason moves, the veteran-laden club is firmly in win-now mode. The group of catchers was already below average, and now looks like it may well need a new addition.


Rangers Notes: Profar, Andrus, Kinsler, McCann

Earlier today, Steve Adams profiled Rangers free agent Nelson Cruz.  The outfielder, who missed 50 games in 2013 thanks to his ties to the Biogenesis clinic, should find a healthy market this winter with many teams in need of offense.  Ultimately, Steve writes that Cruz could land a three-year, $39MM deal in free agency.  Here's the latest out of Arlington..

  • The Rangers have let other teams know they are willing to at least talk about one of their middle infielders — Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, or Jurickson Profar — in any trade discussions that come up this offseason, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Industry sources say the club doesn't feel a sense of urgency to move any of the three, but they're keeping an open mind as they have other areas of need to address.  Texas has also made it clear to other teams they are not trying to dump Kinsler's salary and they won't pick up any part of the contract in order to facilitate a deal.
  • After re-signing catcher Geovany Soto yesterday, Rangers GM Jon Daniels stated to reporters that Soto was expected to be the team's primary catcher in 2014. However, Brian McCann's agent, B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management, tells Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he doesn't think the signing precludes McCann from going to the Rangers. Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest pointed out yesterday (on Twitter) that Daniels made similar comments after signing Soto last season before going out and signing A.J. Pierzynski.
  • Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News argues that the Soto signing actually makes a McCann signing more likely for the Rangers, as they now have a competent catcher to split time with McCann. Grant writes that the best way for McCann to match or surpass Yadier Molina's five-year, $75MM deal is to recognize the health risks associated with catching and accept a role in which he could start 70 games or so behind the plate plus another 70-80 games at DH.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Rangers Re-Sign Geovany Soto

The Rangers have re-signed catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year, $3.05MM deal, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram (via Twitter).  Soto will have the opportunity to add to his salary with incentives.

Soto, 31 in January, posted a .245/.328/.466 slash line with nine home runs in 54 games last season.  He also threw out ten of 34 (29.4%) attempted base stealers in 2013.  For his career, which was spent mostly in Chicago, Soto has hit .248/.335/.439.

It's not a surprise to see Soto back in Arlington after it was reported that he was interested in a return.  Meanwhile, fellow free agent backstop A.J. Pierzynski remains unsigned and while he also wants to come back to the Rangers, he could be lured away by another club in search of a catcher.

It's a decent raise for the veteran as he had a $2.75MM base salary in 2013.  Soto is represented by Kinzer Management Group.


AL West Notes: Rangers, McCann, Cruz, Angels, Astros

The Rangers' season came to an end last night after a 5-2 loss to the Rays in Game 163, shifting the team's focus to the upcoming offseason. General manager Jon Daniels told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports last night that there's "no question" Ron Washington will be the manager of next season's team (Twitter link). Here's more on the Rangers and the rest of the AL West…

  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports writes that the Rangers will likely target Brian McCann in free agency this offseason, as they've attempted to acquire him via trade multiple times and have had scouts following him closely.  That fits with Tim Dierkes' thoughts from McCann's recent free agent profile here at MLBTR.
  • Nelson Cruz wants to be back with the Rangers in 2014, he told reporters, including Michael Florek of the Dallas Morning News. Cruz called the ovation he received in his first at-bat last night "special" and said he feels he's dealt with his mistakes and is ready to move on.
  • Both A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto would like to return to the Rangers, writes Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com. However, the team's potential pursuit of McCann could take precedence. Durrett also notes that Washington would love to have Joe Nathan back to close games for him in 2014. Nathan can void his option and is likely to seek a multiyear deal. Wills also notes that Washington would welcome Cruz back to the team as well. "Who wouldn't want Nelson Cruz?" asked Washington.
  • Some within the Angels camp expect both manager Mike Scioscia and GM Jerry Dipoto to return in 2014, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. There have been rumors that one of the two is headed out the door.
  • With a young core now taking shape, Astros owner Jim Crane tells MLB.com's Brian McTaggart that the payroll will increase in 2014 and the team will look to add some free agents into the mix. Crane specifically mentions a power bat, help for the back of the rotation and bullpen arms as areas of need.

Rangers Re-Sign Geovany Soto

After rumors swirled around the Rangers and their catching situation for weeks, Texas has decided to retain the backstop that finished the 2012 season with the team, agreeing to a one-year deal with Geovany Soto. The deal, which is now official, will pay Soto $2.75MM, with incentives giving him the chance to earn $3MM.

Uspw_6592732Soto, 29, had a .198/.270/.343 batting line with 11 home runs in 361 plate appearances for the Rangers and Cubs last season. The catcher, who earned $4.3MM in 2012, was non-tendered by Texas just days ago. Last year marked a significant dip in offensive production for Soto, so the Rangers will hope to see him get closer to his career slash line .248/.336/.437 in 2013.

Soto is represented by the Wasserman Media Group, as shown in MLBTR's Agency Database. With the former Cub off the market, A.J. Pierzynski headlines a fairly uninspiring group of free agent catchers.

Evan Grant of MLB.com reported the agreement between Soto and the Rangers, with Jon Heyman and Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com adding financial details. Luke Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.


Notable Non-Tendered Players

The non-tender deadline passed at midnight ET last night, and more than 30 new free agents hit the open market after their teams declined to make a contract offer. Our Non-Tender Tracker has the full list.

Most non-tendered players are fringe roster guys, but a few are established big leaguers who may have seen their performance slip or battled injury. In all cases, the team didn't consider him to be worth his expected salary in the upcoming season. Here's a look at some of this year's most notable non-tenders.

  • Jair Jurrjens – Still just 26, Jurrjens is one year removed from a 2.96 ERA in 152 innings. He's battled numerous injuries (including right knee surgery) and pitched so poorly earlier this year that he was sent to Triple-A. That said, the combination of age and past performance gives Jurrjens some of the highest upside on the free agent market.
  • Jeff Karstens – Karstens, 30, was limited to just 90 2/3 innings this year due to shoulder and hip problems, but he's pitched to a 3.59 ERA with a 1.7 BB/9 in 253 innings since the start of last year.
  • John Lannan – The Nationals didn't have a place for Lannan this year, so the 28-year-old spent most of the season in Triple-A despite a $5MM salary. The left-hander has thrown at least 180 innings in each of the last five seasons, so he adds a reliable southpaw to a free agent class surprisingly short on that type of pitcher.
  • Mark Reynolds – Power is hard to find these days, and the 29-year-old Reynolds hit 37 home runs just a year ago. He dipped to .221/.335/.429 with 23 homers this year, though he did produce a .258/.374/.525 line with 20 homers in 353 plate appearances from early-May through early-September. Although his best position is first base, a power-starved team could give Reynolds a look at third base given the shallow free agent pool.
  • Geovany Soto – The free agent catching market is weak, especially now that Russell Martin has signed with the Pirates, so the 29-year-old Soto could become a popular target in short order. He hit just .198/.270/.343 in 361 plate appearances this year, but a year ago he put up a respectable .228/.310/.411 line with 17 homers. Enough teams need catching help that Soto should have little trouble finding a new employer.
  • Brian Wilson – It's been two years since Wilson, 30, was truly dominant. He's coming off his second Tommy John surgery and posted a 3.11 ERA in 55 innings last season while his strikeout (8.8 K/9) and walk (5.1 BB/9) rates took big hits, but teams do love to roll the dice on formerly elite closers coming off down seasons and/or injury. Hank Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle hears Wilson was upset after being non-tendered and has told people he will not re-sign with the Giants.
  • Other non-tendered players like Scott Atchison, Tom Gorzelanny, Mike Pelfrey (coming off Tommy John surgery), and Nate Schierholtz have proven useful in various roles and figure to be relatively popular targets as free agents.