Catchers generally get plenty of chances to prove themselves in Major League Baseball, and veteran backstop Geovany Soto now has a new lease on life after agreeing to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels in free agency.

The American League West club announced on Tuesday that Soto agreed to terms on a one-year deal. According to’s Alden Gonzalez, the “deal is worth $2.8 [million].”

Soto was a rookie phenom back in 2008 as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He hit .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBI, he was named to the National League All-Star team, and he won the NL Rookie of the Year award as well.     

Since that spectacular season, however, he hasn’t come close to replicating that type of production at the plate.

The past few years have been especially difficult for Soto as he has dealt with injuries and struggled to stay on the field. He appeared in just 24 games in 2014 after tearing the meniscus in his right knee and suffering various other ailments as well.

After spending parts of three campaigns with the Texas Rangers, Soto was traded to the Oakland Athletics in August 2014. He subsequently signed with the Chicago White Sox prior to the 2015 season, producing a .219 batting average, nine home runs and 21 RBI in 78 games.

While Soto’s durability and offensive shortcomings are definite question marks, he has seemingly improved significantly in terms of his defensive play in recent years.

Although the sample size was small in 2014, Soto threw out 43 percent of baserunners who attempted to steal on him, which was a career high. That number dipped to just 30 percent last season, but he has shown a penchant for handling pitching staffs well.

It probably wouldn’t be wise to rely on Soto as a full-time catcher at this juncture; however, he could thrive in a lesser role. Backup catchers are hugely important in the big leagues since the starters need to stay fresh, and Soto can help immensely in that regard.

The Angels needed to find another catcher after Chris Iannetta signed his own one-year deal with the division rival Seattle Mariners on Monday, per Greg Johns of 

While it’s entirely possible that Soto will have to fight through injuries once again in 2016, the investment it took to land him was fairly negligible. Soto is essentially a lottery ticket based on what he was able to accomplish in the past, and signing him was a risk worth taking.


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