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Monday, December 2, 2013
Arbitration deadline to shape catchers' market

By Richard Durrett

One area of need for the Texas Rangers is another catcher. The club has tabbed Geovany Soto as its primary backstop but is in need of another one for the roster.

With teams making decisions on whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players by 10:59 CT tonight, the Rangers could get a better sense of what is out there and what options could be available that weren't before tonight.

One possibility: J.P. Arencibia. The Rangers have "some" level of interest, according to a source, and it seems likely that the Toronto Blue Jays will deal the catcher before tonight's deadline. Arencibia hit just .194 with 148 strikeouts in 474 at-bats. He had just 18 walks. So Arencibia struck out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances -- why would Texas even have a little interest? Because Arencibia has power -- he had 21 home runs last season and has averaged a little more than 20 homers the past three seasons. But other than that, the numbers aren't particularly impressive. Toronto is ready to part with Arencibia after signing Dioner Navarro. If the Jays can't trade Arencibia, reports are that the Jays will non-tender him, making him a free agent. Update: Arencibia was non-tendered, which means he's a free agent and any club, including Texas, can talk to him.

The Cleveland Indians have decided to non-tender Lou Marson. He was the Tribe's primary backup from 2010 to 2012 but didn't play much at all (three games) in 2013 because of injuries. Marson had a neck strain and a shoulder injury and was effectively out for the season. He has a career .219 average but a .309 on-base percentage. And he'd come cheap as a backup to Soto.

Perhaps the club could also look at a trade with Cincinnati for Ryan Hanigan, who is known for excellent defensive skills. The Pirates acquired Chris Stewart today, taking another backup catching possibility off the market.

But tonight, perhaps, the Rangers will have a better idea of parts of the catching market.