If the Texas Rangers are preoccupied by the Yu Darvish negotiations, they sure aren’t showing it.
Earlier today, word came out that in addition to ongoing extension talks with Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and Derek Holland, the club has also engaged catcher Mike Napoli in talks on a long-term deal.
Napoli, a veteran of six major league seasons, is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. MLBTradeRumors is projecting a $9.2 million salary for Napoli in 2012, should his case go to a hearing. Obviously, Rangers GM Jon Daniels would prefer to avoid such an ugly procedure and instead sew up his primary catcher for at least a few years.
In keeping with those who don the tools of ignorance, the Rangers added another backstop to the 40-man roster earlier today. Luis Martinez was acquired from the San Diego Padres in a trade that sent right hander Ryan Kelly to the Friars. Martinez, 26, was a 12th round selection by the Padres in the 2007 June Draft.
Martinez has just 68 career big league plate appearances, all of them coming in 2011, and has very little pop in his bat. He owns a career minor league slugging percentage of just .360. He did post an impressive .323/.379/.434 line last season at Triple-A Tuscon in 58 games, though PCL numbers are often inflated.
Martinez is the third catcher on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, joining Napoli and Yorvit Torreabla, but he is not expected to make the major league roster. All this move really does is prevent the Rangers from having to create a 40-man spot for a catcher should either of the top two go down with injury.