The Rangers have officially announced they have signed catcher J.P. Arencibia. He goes into Spring Training as the backup catcher to Geovany So.
Arencibia, who turns 28 next month, has a total of 62 home runs over the past three seasons, the fourth-highest total among any major league catcher in that span behind only Matt Wieters (67), Carlos Santana (65), and Brian McCann (64). He joins the other three players on that list as the only catchers with at least 18 home runs in each of the last three campaigns. Arencibia batted .194 with 21 home runs, 18 doubles, and 55 RBI in a career-high 138 games for the Blue Jays in 2013, and his 131 games behind the plate ranked third in the American League.
Scott Boras walking briskly through the lobby to another meeting, acknowledged the Rangers interest in free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and said, “It’s a good fit.”
He also added, “There’s a lot of play on this guy. He’s a good fit for a lot of teams.”
As to where the negotiations were, Boras said, “You know how it is when you run a mile. The last 100 yards are the hardest.”
It was suggested to Boras that he is asking for too much money on Choo. He loved that question.
“You know,” Boras said with a smile. “I’ve heard that a lot before.”
The Rangers have met with Boras but club officials are saying privately that the price on Choo is too high and there seems to be a better chance of bringing back Nelson Cruz.
That’s where it stands right now.
The Rangers have heard Shin-Soo Choo’s asking price and they are not interested in meeting it. The Rangers have met with agent Scott Boras here at the Winter Meetings and right now he is asking for close to the same seven-year, $153 million contract that Jacoby Ellsbury received from the Yankees.
The Rangers aren’t interested in doing that even though they like the idea of him being their leadoff hitter. Sources said the Rangers aren’t going to sign Choo unless the price comes down considerably.
Right now there is a better chance of re-signing outfielder Nelson Cruz. It would likely take a three-year deal but the Rangers haven’t offered that yet.
The Rangers have also checked in on right-handed bats Corey Hart and Michael Morse.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels met with the DFW media tonight. Among the topics…
1. He has met with agent Adam Katz about Nelson Cruz. Discussions are on-going. There are no plans to meet again but Daniels expects they will continue to talk.
2. Rangers are not looking for a closer and feel good about their candidates to fill the role: Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers and Joakim Soria
3. Daniels said the Rangers haven’t spent much time looking for pitching
4. Rangers could be in the market for a right-handed hitting complement to Mitch Moreland at designated hitter.
5. The Rangers had interest in Roy Halladay before he decided to retire.
The Rangers may have other tricks up their sleeves but right now at the Winter Meetings they appear focused on free agent outfielders Nelson Cruz and Shinn-Soo Choo. The Rangers are here looking for more offensive help and those two are prime targets although the Rangers are concerned about the price.
Choo is represented by Scott Boras, who just negotiated a seven-year, $153 million contract for Jacoby Ellsbury with the Yankees. That’s a good indicator of what Boras will be looking for with Choo.
The Rangers are expected to meet with Boras and Adam Katz, who represents Cruz, during their time here in Disney World.
Rangers infield prospect Joey Gallo is spending his winter working out with Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzke. All three live in Las Vegas. Giambi is working closely with Gallo on his hitting and Tulowitzki is helping him with his defense. Gallo is a 6-foot-5 third baseman and his goal is to stay at that position even though there has been speculation he might be better at first base or right field because of his strong.
Gallo is at the Winter Meetings because he was honored as the Top Home Run hitter in the Minor Leagues last season.
The Winter Meetings are off to a crawl here at the Swan and Dolphin as the Rangers continue their pursuit of more offense. At one point this off-season they asked about Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Word is Bautista is staying in Toronto but the Rangers are still looking to see what is out there. The only way the Blue Jays would trade Bautista is if they got a proven starter like Derek Holland.
Nelson Cruz is still out there as a free agent and his agent Adam Katz is here at the Winter Meetings but said he wasn’t ready to talk about his client’s situation. Scott Boras hasn’t been sighted yet but he’ll be here ready to convince teams – including the Rangers – about the wisdom of signing Shin-Soo Choo. There are reports that the Phillies are shopping outfielder Dominic Brown and looking for young pitching in return.
Clubs are asking the Rangers about their pitching, their young middle infielders and first baseman Mitch Moreland. The Rays and Pirates came here looking for a first baseman.
Obviously the one player being talked about most is Rays pitcher David Price. People still expect the Rays to trade him and the Rangers remain one of the teams that could get involved in serious discussions with them.