12/4/2013 5:54 P.M. ET
Texas seeking backup catcher who can step up
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have many options to consider, but one issue that must be addressed before the offseason is over is finding a backup catcher to pair with Geovany Soto behind the plate in 2014.
There has been a run of catchers lately in the free-agent market this week, with A.J. Pierzynski, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dioner Navarro agreeing to deals with other clubs. The Rays also acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds in a three-way deal that included the D-backs. Brian McCann signed with the Yankees on Tuesday after his agent had some dialogue with the Rangers.
"Nobody has come off the board that we really pursued," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "There are some good players that have gone off the board that were not the right fit. I'm confident we will find the right fit."
The Rangers have interest in Kurt Suzuki, who split time between the Nationals and the Athletics this past season. He was the A's starting catcher between 2008-12 before being traded to the Nats in 2012. Oakland reacquired him on Aug. 22 for the stretch run.
Suzuki is considered a capable defensive catcher with occasional power at the plate. He has also been on the disabled list just once in the past seven years.
The Rangers also had serious discussions with the Blue Jays about catcher J.P. Arencibia before he was non-tendered on Monday. A trade was close to being completed but the Rangers were reluctant to add another arbitration-eligible player. The Rangers were willing to do a trade if Arencibia was willing to agree to a contract that would have avoided arbitration. But it never got worked out and now Arencibia, who hit .194 last year, is another free agent under consideration.
"We're looking for the best all-around fit," Daniels said. "We place a high value on durability. If Geo went down, we would want somebody who could step in and be an everyday guy. Geo is our starter. He is going to get the majority of the time going in. Once the season starts, we're going to play the guys who can help us win. We want somebody who can come in and compete and help the club."
• Daniels, in previewing the Winter Meetings for the media on Wednesday, strongly suggested the Rangers are not involved in the bidding for free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano. Said Daniels: "We've talked to agents for most of the guys out there. I'm not going to comment on specific guys, but that being said, upgrading our infield is pretty low on our priority list."
• Newly acquired outfielder Michael Choice, who is from nearby Mansfield, Texas, on playing in front of family and friends: "It all depends on how you look at it. You take it for what it is and don't get caught up in it. I don't think many people get a chance to do this. I'm excited. It will be less nerve-racking, because it will be more familiar."
• One advantage for Choice, a right-handed hitter playing in the Ballpark in Arlington, is he is considered a good opposite-field hitter. Said Choice: "I've always used the opposite field coming up as a kid in high school and college. That's always been one of my strengths."
• The Rangers may or may not get involved with Rays pitcher David Price, who is rumored to be on the trade market. But the Rangers, after trading Josh Lindblom to the Athletics on Tuesday, do want to add some pitching depth behind a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando. Said Daniels: "We definitely want to build depth."
• Daniels suggested that Ogando's spot in the rotation is not completely secure. The Rangers still have Nick Tepesch, they want to give Robbie Ross a chance to start and they have signed Colby Lewis to a Minor League contract. Said Daniels: "We could have competition for the fifth spot."
• According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers are planning $4 million in renovations to the Ballpark in Arlington, mainly in the left-field Diamond Club as well as escalators, lighting and seating in the upper level suites. The renovations are expected to be ready by Opening Day.
• Daniels on trading Craig Gentry to the A's on Tuesday: "Craig Gentry is a very good player. He is a specialist in some regard but he is probably the No. 1 guy in the game at what he does. He's a weapon. He's a very good player. We didn't take it lightly."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.