PHOENIX -- The Texas Rangers are committed to Robinson Chirinos as their starting catcher for the 2015 season. But who will be the the No. 2 catcher remains uncertain. Tomas Telis, a switch-hitter who showed nice pop with his bat but struggled to throw base runners out last season (though in winter ball he's improved in that area immensely), is a possibility.
Top-rated prospect Jorge Alfaro will be added to the 40-man roster this winter. GM Jon Daniels doesn't expect Alfaro to make the club in spring training but noted there's a possibility of a September call-up.
If Daniels doesn't go with Telis, he's seeking a veteran backup to help Chirinos deal with such a demanding position. Chirinos started 88 games at catcher last season and participated in 784 innings. There were only eight catchers who logged 1,000-plus innings behind the plate last season.
The best catcher on the free-agent market is Pittsburgh's Russell Martin and after that the market is, as Daniels put it, "the whole position in the industry is pretty (weak). It's not a good list."
The Pirates acquired Francisco Cervelli in a trade with the New York Yankees on Wednesday. That trade could mean Martin crosses the Pirates off his list of teams he could play for in 2015. With the Rangers waiting on Alfaro to develop, it doesn't make too much sense to chase Martin, who is seeking a high-priced free-agent deal.
Former Rangers such as A.J. Pierzynski and Gerald Laird are on the market and Daniels said he's open to that possibility, but he didn't seem overly excited about the pair. J.P. Arencibia and Geovany Soto were the projected catchers for the Rangers last season, but injuries and ineffective play derailed them and the club didn't retain either player.
So Daniels can either stay with Telis as the backup or seek help elsewhere.
Pitchers bound for Japan: The Rangers are in the final stages of selling the rights of right-handed starter Miles Mikolas and left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda to the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese League for cash.
Mikolas was inserted into the starting rotation last season and in 10 starts went 2-5 with a 6.44 ERA. Mikolas made his last start Aug. 25 when he shut out Seattle over eight innings. But Mikolas had shoulder soreness and didn't pitch again the rest of the season.
Poreda was the Chicago White Sox's first-round draft pick in 2007, but he didn’t pitch in the majors at all from 2010 to 2013 and then had a 5.91 ERA in 26 relief appearances for the Rangers last season.
International money: The Rangers have expressed interest in two Cuban defectors, outfielder Yasmany Tomas and now infielder Yoan Moncada, whom the club scouted Wednesday. The Rangers, however, are limited in the amount of money they can spend on each player. The Rangers were penalized for spending above their allotted bonus pool money during the international free agent signing period the previous year. The most the Rangers can offer a player is $250,000. Daniels said those penalties will end next July.