The White Sox and catcher Geovany Soto have agreed to terms on a minor league contract for the 2015 season, reports Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. The Kinzer Management Group client will be invited to Major League Spring Training and compete for a 25-man roster spot, Levine adds (Twitter links).
Soto, 32, missed much of the 2014 season as he recovered from offseason surgeries on his left foot and right knee, and a groin injury sidelined him for two weeks in July as well. That trio of physical ailments limited him to just 87 plate appearances between the Rangers and Athletics, though he was expected to handle the bulk of Texas’ catching duties at the onset of the season. Overall, Soto batted .250/.302/.363 with one homer on the year. The former NL Rookie of the Year looked much sharper with the Rangers in 2013 when he batted .245/.328/.466 with nine homers in 184 trips to the plate.
Soto’s performance has fluctuated fairly significantly on a year-to-year basis, but the cumulative sum of his efforts over the past five seasons and over the entirety of his career has been roughly a league-average bat, in terms of OPS+. A lifetime .248/.334/.436 hitter, Soto offers above-average plate discipline and pop for a catcher when he’s healthy, but he does come with a fairly lengthy injury history.
Tyler Flowers currently projects to be the everyday catcher for the White Sox, with 2014 backup Adrian Nieto, waiver claim Rob Brantly and minor league signee George Kottaras all fighting for time behind the dish as well. I’d wager that Soto’s track record gives him a leg up over much of the competition, provided he’s healthy. Ultimately, I could see him overtaking Flowers as the starter, given the fact that Flowers’ .241/.297/.396 batting line was bolstered by an unsustainable .355 average on balls in play. If that number regresses toward his career mark of .308 and Flowers continues striking out at a 35 to 36 percent clip, it wouldn’t be surprising if another starter emerged for the ChiSox eventually.