— The Texas Rangers announced today that the club has signed free agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year contract for the 2014 season. Financial terms were not
disclosed, per club policy.
Soto, who will turn 31 in January, batted .245 with 9 home runs, 9 doubles, and 22 RBI in 54 games/49 starts for the Rangers last season, including a .324 (23-71) average after the All-Star break. He also threw out 10 of 34 (29.4%) attempted base stealers in 2013, the sixth-best percentage among American League catchers with at least 30 attempts against. His .995 (2 E/424 TC) fielding percentage ranked seventh in the A.L. among catchers with 50+ games. Soto, who started 15 of Yu Darvish's 32 starts, had a 3.67 catchers ERA last season. He joined the Cubs' Donnie Murphy and Mariners' Franklin Gutierrez as the only major league players with at least 9 homers and 22 RBI while playing 54 games-or-less in 2013. He was the first Ranger to do it since Mitch Moreland in 2010.
Eight of Soto's 9 home runs in 2013 came in the fifth inning-or-later, and his 3 home runs of 3-or-4 runs last season ranked second among Rangers to only Nelson Cruz (6). His game-ending home run on July 29 vs. Los Angeles-AL was the first of three consecutive walk-off home runs by the Rangers in a series against the Angels, and began a span in which Texas won 5 straight and 13 of 14 games. He batted .307 (23-75) in 26 games at Rangers Ballpark last season, and had a .272 (22-81) average against A.L. West opponents.
Originally acquired by Texas in a July 31, 2012 trade with the Chicago Cubs, he will be in his second full season with the Rangers next year. He has a career .248 average with 91 home runs in 656 major league games with Chicago-NL (2005-12) and Texas (2012-13). Soto was a National League All-Star and the N.L. Rookie of the Year with the Cubs in 2008.
With the signing of Soto, the Rangers now have 35 players on the club's 40-man roster.