According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, the Rangers gave Soto a one-year deal worth $3.05 million plus incentives. Soto played in 54 games last year behind starting catcher A.J. Pierzynski. He finished the season with a .245 batting average, hitting nine home runs and driving in 22 runs.
It would be safe to assume the veteran will not be the starter in 2014. The contract more or less says Soto is a safeguard if the Rangers can't get Pierzynski back or sign free agent Brian McCann to a multi-year deal.
On the other hand, Soto has proven to be a reliable catcher over the course of a season. In 2008, he played in 141 games, the most of his career, hitting .285 and had career highs in home runs (23), RBIs (86) and doubles (35).
The free-agent market of 2014 is so weak that the Rangers could also start working prospects in next season. Staying in-house would also help the Rangers spend money on higher-profile players at other positions.
Robinson Chirinos is one option to back up Soto in 2014. He played in 13 games last season, but only mustered five hits in 28 at-bats. In 74 games at Triple-A Round Rock, he hit .257 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs.
Double-A Frisco’s Brett Nicholas is another option. He hit .289 with 21 home runs in 136 games last season. He has primarily played first base since 2012, but has committed just three errors at the catcher position since joining the Rangers organization in 2010
Nicholas will also be playing in the Dominican this Winter after the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League to catch full-time.
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