JAN. 6: Soto’s chances of making the big league roster indeed appear to be quite strong. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that the contract includes not only a $2MM base salary but a club option for the 2018 season, lending credence to the notion that the Sox are banking on Soto more than the typical veteran minor league signee.
JAN. 5: The White Sox have struck a minor-league deal with free-agent catcher Geovany Soto, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com (via Twitter). Soto, who has played previously in Chicago with both the White Sox and Cubs, will turn 34 in two weeks’ time.
After providing the South Siders with a .219/.301/.406 batting line over 210 plate appearances in 2015, Soto returned to the open market in search of a new opportunity. He ended up landing with the Angels on a one-year, $2.8MM contract.
This time, Soto will have to earn his way onto a roster in camp. Though he hit quite well in Los Angeles — .269/.321/.487 — Soto managed only 86 trips to the plate in 26 games. The problem was a knee issue that hindered him throughout the year and ultimately forced him to the DL for good in mid-August.
It seems reasonable to expect that, as Levine notes, Soto will have a solid chance at taking an active roster spot. The top two catchers on the depth chart, at present, are Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith — each of whom made his major-league debut in 2016. Alfredo Gonzalez and Roberto Pena perhaps also represent options.