Rangers re-sign Soto to be No. 1 catcher
NOV 05, 2013 1:50p ET
Texas general manager Jon Daniels said that Soto, who will make $3.05 million next season plus incentives, was signed to be the team's primary catcher.
That's a role he hasn't had since he was acquired at the trade deadline in 2012 but something the former National League rookie of the year is looking forward to.
"I feel great," said Soto, who hit .245 in 54 games for Texas with nine homers and 22 RBI. "I feel my whole career I've been a starting catcher and it's nothing new for me. I feel the Texas organization is a great organization. The locker room is unbelievable and the team can win championships and I'm really glad I can be a part of that."
Soto was the rookie of the year for the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and was their primary starter through the 2011 season.
His ability to work with the pitching staff was the big reason the Rangers wanted him back.
"We signed him with the expectation that he will be our regular – our primary catcher in 2014,
Daniels said. "I think we've got a lot of Rangers pitchers who are going to be very happy about that. Geo brings a lot to the club, handling the staff and defense."
While Soto's playing time was limited in 2013, he was behind the plate for 15 of the 32 starts by ace Yu Darvish. He also was the most effective catcher the Rangers had at throwing out baserunners, eliminating 10 of 34 on the base paths.
Soto also got better offensively as the season went on, batting .433 over his final 11 games.
The Rangers will still look to add some catching depth, but Daniels made it clear that player would complement Soto and play other positions.
"There are some different ways we can fill it, some different types of guys out there," Daniels said. "Guys that are either a traditional backup or guys Wash (Ron Washington) will want to have his bat in the lineup everyday whether it's behind the plate or at a different spot. There's different ways we're going to look at it."
Daniels said there are catchers the team likes on the free-agent market but the Rangers didn't want to miss out on a catcher who already knows the pitching staff and has had success working with the rotation.
Soto knows his primary job is to work with the pitching staff but he feels like he started to come around at the plate with the help of hitting coach Dave Magadan. Since hitting .280 in 2010, Soto hasn't hitter better than his .245 average last season.
"When I fell off in my career and I stopped hitting it was because I was trying to hard or I was searching too much," he said. "Every time I tried to do an adjustment I changed it every four days because one day it didn't happen like I wanted to. Dave himself told me I need to stop searching, keep it simple and do what you need to do. That's what I did."
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