The Padres announced that they’ve acquired catcher Brett Nicholas from the Rangers in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. Nicholas, 29, was outrighted off the Rangers’ 40-man roster late in Spring Training and recently was further displaced by Texas’ signing of Cameron Rupp to a minor league contract. The Padres have assigned him to Triple-A El Paso.
Nicholas has appeared in 36 games for the Rangers over the past two seasons, tallying 110 plate appearances and hitting .252/.300/.446 with four homers in that brief sample. He’s halted just two of 15 stolen-base attempts against Rangers pitching in that time, though he’s been more effective (27 percent) in parts of eight minor league seasons. Baseball Prospectus doesn’t view his pitch framing in either the Majors or the minors too highly, but Nicholas is a lifetime .283/.333/.427 hitter in 1669 Triple-A plate appearances.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller is plenty familiar with Nicholas, as he was an assistant GM with the Rangers back in 2010 when Texas drafted Nicholas in the sixth round out of Missouri. The left-handed-hitting Nicholas will give the Friars some additional depth behind catchers Austin Hedges and A.J. Ellis, and he also comes with some experience at first base. It seems likely that Nicholas will team with Raffy Lopez to handle the bulk of the catching duties in Triple-A.