The Texas Rangers will not be offering 2013 contracts to catcher Geovany Soto, infielder Brandon Snyder and right-handed pitcher Jake Brigham before the 11 p.m. deadline. The players were non-tendered, meaning they become free agents. The Rangers are hopeful they can still re-sign Soto, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in July, but the sides couldn't agree to anything prior to tonight's deadline.
Soto, 29, hit .196 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 47 games for the Rangers in 2012. His numbers were similar in Chicago (.199 average, six homers, 14 RBIs in 52 games) before the deal.
Soto made $4.3 million in 2012 and would have received a raise in his final year of arbitration, probably in the $5-6 million range.
The move leaves the Rangers without a catcher at the moment for the upcoming season, as both Soto and Mike Napoli are now free agents. The club met with Napoli and his agent, Brian Grieper, on Wednesday in an effort to gauge the market and if a deal with Napoli is possible. The 31-year-old wants a multiyear deal and the Rangers decided earlier this offseason not to extend the $13.3 million qualifying offer to Napoli because they didn’t want to allocate that kind of money so early in the offseason.
The already thin catching market was reduced by one free agent on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Russell Martin to a two-year, $17 million contract, sources told ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand. The Rangers had interest in Martin.
Snyder, 26, spent most of the 2012 season on the Rangers' roster, hitting .277 with three homers and nine RBIs in 40 games. The 24-year-old Brigham was re-acquired from the Cubs on Nov. 20. Texas had shipped him to Chicago in the trade for Soto. Brigham was 5-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Frisco and Tennessee. He was put on the disabled list with a right elbow strain on Aug. 9 and stayed there for the rest of the season.
It's still possible Texas could end up with Soto or Napoli or both. And the club could elect to sign Snyder and Brigham to minor-league deals. But by not tendering an offer tonight, it means all of them are free to sign elsewhere if they choose. With these moves, the Rangers have 36 players on the 40-man roster.