Potential Solutions for the Ranger’s Last Remaining Weakness

Every team, from the Astros to the Red Sox, is always looking to improve.

Sep 24, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Jason Frasor (44) talks with catcher Geovany Soto (8) in the eighth inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Luckily for the Rangers, they have at least a stop-gap solution at every position.  However,  stop-gap solutions and sorted out positions are two different things, and it appears the Rangers have (at the major league level) more of the former at catcher. Neither Geovany Soto nor J.P. Arencibia can be called particularly great options. Neither hit for average, and Arencibia has (over his career) averaged a .258 OBP (not a typo).

But the market really isn’t flooded with catching options. No catcher on the market has an OPS over .700, and at this point  all are backups at best. The issue with both Soto and Arencibia is their contact, and no catcher on the open market can remedy the offensive hole they give the Rangers. Unless the prospect of signing Humberto Quintero or John Buck particularly appeals to you or you have some hidden insight in to either catcher that I don’t, the Rangers will not upgrade their catching on the open market.

The trade market isn’t unbelievably ripe either. Catching is probably the most difficult position to cultivate, so catchers (especially those that can hit) don’t grow on trees and certainly aren’t trade bait. The ones that do hit (Wilin Rosario for example) usually have  very serious defensive shortcomings, a trait that is obviously a real issue on a squad that could feature a new starter (Martin Perez) and features numerous division foes with legitimate base stealing threats (Coco Crisp, Mike Trout, Jose Altuve).  The only offensive-minded catcher on the market (apparently the already noted Wilin Rosario) is probably the worst defending catcher in the league. He has led the MLB in passed balls for two straight years and is a poor blocker in general. He also draws virtually no walks. Trading for Rosario would essentially get the Rangers a player who, despite a good arm, should really be DH’d. They already have a future DH in Prince Fielder.

The good news is that the Rangers might only have to suffer Soto and Arencibia for one more year. While Jorge Alfaro will likely never hit .300, his 25 homer potential, potentially average hit tool (relatively above average ) and best-in-the-minors arm should help him be a cornerstone of future Rangers teams for years to come. Projected to arrive in 2015, he could finally solve a position of weakness the Rangers have had for seemingly forever.

Topics: Geovany Soto, Rangers

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