Monday, December 3, 2012
Geovany Soto says he's got much to prove
By Richard Durrett
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Geovany Soto, whose one-year, $2.75 million deal with up to $250,000 in incentives was made official Monday, plans on coming to spring training with plenty to prove.
"I feel that I have a lot more to offer," Soto said in a conference call with reporters Monday evening. "I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain and I want to prove to myself and prove to the Texas Rangers that I am an All-Star caliber catcher and helps us reach the World Series."
Soto specified that he hadn't been the same offensive player the past few seasons. He hit .198 with the Chicago Cubs and Rangers in 2012 and batted .228 in 2011. He hit just 11 homers in 2012 after belting 17 in 2011 and 2010. In 2008, Soto's first full season in the big leagues, he hit .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBIs but hasn't been able to get back to that level.
"I feel that obviously I’ve been having down years with my hitting," Soto said. "I feel like I have a lot more to offer. I was trying to do too much. I feel I need to calm down, get some swings under my belt now before spring training. I came up as an offensive guy. I’ve always been an offensive guy and I haven’t been showing that. I want to show I can be a power in the lineup."
One thing Soto has shown is an ability to work with the Rangers' pitching staff, something that impacted the Rangers' decision to re-sign him. Soto's brand of humor has worked to relax the pitching staff and was Yu Darvish's personal catcher down the stretch. Soto caught Darvish's final eight regular season starts and the AL wild-card game and Darvish was 6-2 with a 2.39 ERA, holding opponents to a .179 average.
"He came in and got very good reviews from our pitching staff and how he worked with them," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said. "There’s more in there offensively. He hasn’t had his 30th birthday yet. There are some things that lineup that would indicate there’s still more in there."
Daniels said the club is in the market for catching, noting that it's difficult to find some right now. Mike Napoli isn't available, agreeing to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal with the Boston Red Sox pending a physical, according to a source.
"It was not a great catching market to being with this winter just in terms of sheer numbers of guys available and a lot of clubs looking," Daniels said. "It’s a tough position to fill in the game right now. There are some ways we’re exploring to do that, to find the right guy to complement Geo."