Tag: Geovany Soto

Geovany Soto to Angels: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

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 MLB.com’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 MLB.com. 

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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Geovany Soto Injury: Updates on Athletics Catcher’s Thumb and Return

If the Oakland Athletics are able to beat the Kansas City Royals and advance to the American League Division Series, they may have to proceed without catcher Geovany Soto.

The 31-year-old veteran, who was acquired by the A’s in August, was forced from Tuesday night’s Wild Card Game with a thumb injury, per Fox Sports’ MLB Twitter feed:

Soto entered the night with a rock-solid .357 on-base percentage in 49 plate appearances with Oakland, but as ESPN Stats & Info noted, his worth goes beyond the batter’s box:

Hardball Talk’s Matthew Pouliot also noted Soto’s importance with John Jaso sidelined via concussion:

Derek Norris is hitting .270/.361/.403 on the season. He has crushed lefties (.863) but hasn’t been nearly as effective against right-handers (.699 OPS). If Soto is out for an extended period (and Oakland advances), though, Norris will have to step in behind the plate extensively.

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Texas Rangers: Most Memorable Events of 2013

The Texas Rangers are looking to put the 2013 season completely in their rear view as they gear up for 2014.

Last year was filled with both good and bad memories, from a near-perfect game to a trade that didn’t pan out. The team also made history during a July series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Texas didn’t get a chance at a playoff run, but it was still a fun season to watch.

We are going to look at some of the most memorable events from this past season, whether we want to remember it forever or erase it from memory.

What are the most memorable events for you from 2013?

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Geovany Soto Re-Signs with Texas Rangers on 1-Year Deal

The Rangers took care of one housekeeping duty on Tuesday with the re-signing of catcher Geovany Soto.

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 two errors at the catcher position since joining the Rangers organization in 2010.

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Mike Trout Still Has a Lot to Prove to Major League Baseball, but Not by Choice

Mike Trout is going to be the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, but before anyone jumps the gun, keep in mind that Trout isn’t the first ROY, and won’t be the last. He still has a lot to work on before being mentioned in the same breath as Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr. 

Don’t get me wrong, Trout is a five-tooler. He runs like the wind (first in the bigs with 36 stolen bases), hits for power (21 homers), hits for average (tops in the A.L. with .345 avg.), wows us with his defensive skills (this explains it all) and has a cannon for an arm (I don’t have a video, but trust me on this one).

But regardless of those numbers, Mike Trout still hasn’t proven himself to be one of the best players ever. That’s not his fault, though. He hasn’t had the opportunity to play a fruitful 15-20 year career, yet.

Is he one of the best rookies of all time? Maybe. But it’s up for debate if he’s THE best rookie. If it were up to me, that honor would go to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in his 1911 rookie campaign.

Jackson had a 9.9 WAR (via fangraphs), batted .408/.468./.590, finishing fourth in MVP voting, behind Hall of Famers Eddie Collins, “Big” Ed Walsh and Ty Cobb. And he did it at a respectable 24 years old. 

But alas, this isn’t a history lesson; just food for thought.

Mike Trout has been compared to the likes of Mickey Mantle, and being mentioned in the same sentence as the legend is remarkable on itself, but let me remind you of one thing: He has yet to complete a full season in the majors. 

In 90 games, Trout has proven to us that he can pad his stats in a very short amount of time, but at the end of the day, having one great season doesn’t mean you’ll have ten more just like it. 

What will really make him a superstar is whether or not he can maintain consistency at the MLB level for years to come. The bar has been set very high for Trout, because no one is thinking about this season anymore, but instead, they’re thinking about the impact he’ll have on baseball in the future. 

There is a possibility that Trout steamrolls opposing pitchers in his rookie season, then falls off the truck and never lives up to it again; he wouldn’t be the first.

In 2008, Geovany Soto was the National League rookie of the year, batting .285/.364/.504 (not Mike Trout numbers, but bear with me). He has yet to come close to those numbers again, ultimately resulting in his trade in 2012.

This is a small example, but all I’m saying is don’t be surprised if pitchers figure out Trout’s tendencies in 2013, forcing him to make adjustments and testing his mental capacity. 

From a physical standpoint, he could be a 10-year all-star if he keeps this up, but in reality there is one major difference between major and minor leaguers. Major league ballplayers are consistent.

Minor leaguers might have the talent, more talent than their major league counterparts, but they can’t make adjustments and stay consistent enough, ultimately forcing them to ride buses for the remainder of their careers. 

A lot of people are asking, “is there anything Mike Trout hasn’t done?”. Well, it’s the one thing he has no control over: have an illustrious career.

There is no way to predict a home run king, or an all-time hits leader, or someone breaking the stolen base record, because although the talent might be there, it’s not all that’s required. To be a legend, you need to have mental grit, you need to stay healthy, you need to be smart and you have to, above all, stay consistent and let your playing do the talking. 

Joe Jackson batted .300 every season following his rookie year except for once (.272), going out with a .382/.444/.589 slash line in his final season of baseball in 1920, after being banned in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal (where he batted .375 with 12 hits, the best of the series’ and committed no errors).

If Mike Trout can play stellar baseball for years upon years to come, I’ll eat my words. But for now let’s enjoy the Mike Trout show, because just like everything else he does, this may never happen again.

For him, or anyone else. 

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Top 15 Fantasy Baseball Catchers For 2011 By Tiers

Tier 1 – Joe Mauer
Mauer stands alone as the best catcher available on draft day.  While his 2009 power surge was clearly more smoke and mirrors than anything else (28 HR in ’09 compared to a career high of 13 in ’06 and no other season of more than 9), he brings more than enough to the table to excite owners.  He is one of the few catchers who brings run potential to the table.  In fact, in the past four years he has scored 342 runs.  Second place among catchers is Russell Martin with 282 (and third place is Victor Martinez with 260).  Throw in a perennial .325+ average and 85+ RBI potential and it is clear that there is no one else in his class.

Tier 2 – Victor Martinez, Brian McCann
These guys have both proven what they are capable of doing and are among the better hitters in the game, but they still remain a cut below the top gun.  They bring a little bit more power to the table, but may not have the upside in the other categories. 

Martinez, however, is going to be an interesting player to watch while working as a DH in Detroit.  Those extra at bats will certainly help to offset any decrease his production may take from moving away from Fenway.  Throw in joining Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and he certainly has the potential to put up some big numbers in 2011.

Tier 3 – Buster Posey, Carlos Santana
I know people want to believe that Posey belongs in Tier 2 (or maybe even Tier 1), but there are some huge risks involved in taking him early on in your draft.  I’m going to post an article on him later on this week (so check back for that), but an increased strikeout rate along with his struggles at home could help him to regress a bit in his sophomore campaign. 

Santana, meanwhile, is trying to come back from a serious knee injury.  While I’ve dubbed him the next Victor Martinez, he’s not there yet, which is why I would put him in this tier.  Both of these players have the chance to be among the elite, but they need to back it up on the field in 2011.

Tier 4 – Miguel Montero, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Wieters, Geovany Soto
This is probably the tier that most people are aiming to dip their toes into.  All of these players have significant upside and come at a far greater value than the first three tiers (outside of maybe Carlos Santana who is actually being drafted after half of this tier according to Mock Draft Central). 

Soto rebounded nicely from a tough 2009 (.280, 17 HR in 322 AB) and hopefully will get significantly more playing time in 2011. 

Wieters has not yet lived up to the hype, but with a significant upgrade in talent around him there certainly is the hope that he takes the next step forward.  Montero has proven that, when healthy, he is a very good catching talent. 

Suzuki, meanwhile, is similar to Wieters where he has a ton of talent but now he needs to put it together on the field. 

These guys are all available between rounds nine and 16, where they bring great value compared to the top three tiers.

Tier 5 – Mike Napoli, Jorge Posada, Chris Iannetta
The next grouping has power potential across the board, but red flags abound. 

Napoli finds himself in a good situation, but he is going to be shifted around the diamond in Texas and could continue to struggle to find AB.  He’s going to catch some, as well as share time at 1B and DH with Michael Young and Mitch Moreland.  Of course, he also could struggle in the average department. 

Posada, at his age, is always a risk to suffer an injury.  While DH’ing should help, you just never know. 

Iannetta has a ton of upside potential, but will this finally be the year that the Rockies actually show patience and stick with him?

Tier 6 – J.P. Arencibia, Yadier Molina, Miguel Olivo
From a fantasy perspective there is a big falloff in talent at this point in the rankings.  Arencibia certainly has a ton of potential, given his Triple-A numbers from 2010, and is a great selection especially in two-catcher formats.

What are your thoughts on the tiers?  How would you group them?  Is there anyone that you think doesn’t belong in the group that I’ve placed them?

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings:


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Chicago Cubs 2011 Season Preview: Behind the Plate

Heading into the 2011 season, catcher is one of the last things that the Chicago Cubs will need to worry about, as long as Geovany Soto is lining up behind the dish.

Soto bounced back from a very poor sophomore season in 2010. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2008, Soto hit just .218 in 2009, with only 11 homers.

The 2010 season saw Soto bounce back from that sophomore slump, posting a .280 average and parking 17 big flies. 

Much of his success in 2010 can be traced back to his work off the field last winter. Soto showed up to spring training in much better shape than he had been playing in ’09. The addition of hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo also appeared to have a strong effect on Soto, as evident by his .280 average.

The biggest concern surrounding Soto is his health. While he was much better in the games he did appear in, the catcher from Puerto Rico still played in just 105 games, three more than that ’09 campaign.

That concern relates directly to the shoulder that gave Soto problems over the summer, particularly in August and September. He had surgery to fix pain in his AC joint, but was expected to be completely healthy by the beginning of January.

Cubs fans should pray for health for Soto, given the options—or lack thereof—behind him.

Koyie Hill has proven to be one of the more frustrating players in a Cubs uniform over the past few seasons, despite the fact that there are minimal expectations from the former Arizona Diamondback.

Hill is entering his fifth season in the Chicago organization, after hitting just .214 last season. While Hill is a serviceable catcher off the bench, mostly due to his glove and his ability to work with the pitchers, his bat has rendered him nearly useless when he is in the lineup.

If Hill should falter, Welington Castillo appears to be the only other option for Chicago behind Soto. Castillo is just 23, but has very little experience at the big league level. He played in 69 games with Triple-A Iowa in ’09, with 13 homers and 59 RBI. He recorded six hits in 21 at-bats with the Cubs, but is best known for the bat that seriously injured outfielder Tyler Colvin

Soto should once again prove to be one of the better backstops in the bigs in 2011, as long as he can stay on the field. If his health should become an issue again, the Cubs would be wise to seek an outside solution to back up Soto, offensively.  

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MLB Trade Rumors: Chicago Cubs May Shop Geovany Soto

While Joe Mauer and Brian McCann rate as the best-known offensive catchers in baseball, Geovany Soto was the best hitter in the league at that position in 2010.

Though he got only 387 plate appearances due to a mixture of injuries and managerial stupidity, Soto logged a career-best .890 OPS and socked 17 home runs.

He did all that despite batting mostly seventh and eighth for the Cubs. National League hitters performed nine percent worse than their overall numbers when batting in those slots in 2010, so if Soto had been batting fourth (where he belonged in a beleaguered Cubs lineup, and where batters were 17 percent better than their baseline in 2010), he might well have hit 22 homers and finished with an OPS north of .920.

For perspective, the last Cubs catcher with numbers in that strata was Gabby Hartnett, when he won the MVP in 1935.

Yet the Cubs elected to tender a contract to Koyie Hill this winter (for reasons surpassing any understanding) and then claimed catcher Max Ramirez off waivers from the Red Sox this week. Those two, along with prospect Welington Castillo, will ostensibly compete to become Soto’s backup in 2011.

But what if the Cubs have other ideas? Jim Hendry has never shown a special affinity for Soto, and the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year reached arbitration for the first time this season and got a $3 million, one-year deal. The Cubs could have offered a multi-year extension, but they chose to go year-to-year with their star catcher.

Would Chicago be willing to trade Soto and give the nod to either Ramirez or Castillo as the starting catcher? Almost certainly, given their budget constraints, the answer is yes. Soto should fetch a good price on the market too, with a number of potential contenders in need of a catcher.

Read on for five possible destinations for Soto.

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NL Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey and the Top 10 Rookie Catchers Since 1990

The National League Rookie of the Year announcement was made earlier today, and Giants catcher Buster Posey deservedly took home the honor. He received 20 of the possible 32 first-place votes, and beat out fellow phenom Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves.

Posey helped lead the Giants to the World Series title, and he could also be considered an NL MVP candidate for his contributions.

With Posey’s great season, this is a good time to look back at some of the other great debut seasons posted by catchers recently, as catcher may be the toughest position to man as a rookie.

So here are the top 10 seasons from rookie catchers in the past 20 years, including this year’s phenom, Buster Posey.

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Trading Dan Uggla? 5 Beneficial Deals for the Florida Marlins To Consider

Talks for a long term engagement with newly minted Silver Slugger Dan Uggla are at a impasse and the Marlins, who have recently traded two former Top 10 picks (Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller), key pieces of the disastrous Miguel Cabrera deal, have suddenly become trigger happy in the trade market.

Those deals have helped shore up the bullpen with three arms but have left a hole in centerfield and there still remains a need a catcher.

According to FOXSports, the Marlins have had discussions with the Detroit Tigers regarding the power-hitting second baseman.

The Florida Marlins are not confident they will sign Uggla because of his insistence to add a fifth year to the contract. Uggla recently turned down a four-year, $48 million offer. Uggla made $7.8 million this year and is eligible for salary arbitration for a final time before qualifying for free agency after the 2011 season.

If the Marlins seriously pursue a Dan Uggla trade, they will look to shore up at the bullpen, catcher and/or centerfield If Uggla is indeed traded, Chris Coghlan is likely to slide to second base with former first-round draft pick Matt Dominguez getting a long look a third base in Spring Training. Emilio Bonfacio is another candidate to start at second or third if Dominguez isn’t ready.

Here are five beneficial trades the Marlins could potentially pull off that will help shore up their weak spots:

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