The free-agent market on catchers is getting smaller. Dioner Navarro is signing with the Blue Jays, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is reportedly in talks with the Minnesota Twins and the Miami Marlins, Brian McCann is a New York Yankee and A.J. Pierzynski is signing with the Boston Red Sox.
Some have mentioned bringing up a prospect from the minors to back up Geovany Soto. There are a couple of options such as Jorge Alfaro, who had a very good season in the Arizona Fall League. He finished second in batting average with .386/.438/.500/.938. Alfaro is a solid and rising star, he’ll probably be in the minors for another season to continue his development.
Another minor league catcher that could come up is Brett Nicholas. The 2013 Arizona Fall Star MVP has had a very solid year and is currently focusing on his catching. He had played first base for a majority of the 2013 season. Nicholas is a very good power hitter who is able to hit a lot of doubles and home runs. He would be a better option to bring up versus Alfaro.
Many fans want the Texas Rangers to bring back Mike Napoli. Even if Napoli does rejoin the Rangers, it is highly unlikely he’ll catch behind Soto. Some have heard my opinion saying that Napoli should be at first, with Fielder at the DH.
There are still some options for the Texas Rangers. Shortly after Navarro was signed by the Jays, their catcher for the past 3 years J.P. Arencibia, 27, was not tendered a contract and is free agent.
Also, some are speculating the Texas Rangers might seek to sign Kurt Suzuki.
Sep 13, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics catcher Kurt Suzuki (22) looks to the bench for a sign in the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
"Suzuki is considered an excellent defensive catcher who handles pitchers well. He also has occasional power at the plate. He became a free agent after the Athletics declined a club option and Texas could be his next stop. (According to T. R. Sullivan )"
Also, the Texas Rangers currently have Robinson Chirinos on the 40 man roster. The former Tampa Bay Rays catcher is one other option Jon Daniels could use behind the plate. Chirinos only played 3 games behind the plate for the Texas Rangers last year and only had a batting average of .179/.233/.286 /519 over 13 games.
Out of those options, Kurt Suzuki is the best option. He batted .232/.290/.337/.627 for the season, but he batted a .303/.343/.545/.888 over 15 games with Oakland near the end of the season. For his career, he’s thrown out about 26% of base runners, which is around the league average, although he did have a down year last year. With the right contract, that could leave the door open for Alfaro or another prospect to come up later.