Rangers Claim Eli Whiteside Off Waivers for Back-Up Role

The Texas Rangers seem intent on going with Geovany Soto as their primary catcher.  They traded for Soto at the July trade deadline this past season.  However, with Mike Napoli gone to Boston, the team needed a back-up to Soto, and they got one yesterday in Eli Whiteside.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers claimed Eli White Side off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays and expect to use him in a back-up role to Geovany Soto.  Wilson says the Rangers will continue to look for another catcher if possible, but the market is thin for solid catching.  A.J. Pierzynski is probably the best available catcher on the market.

The Rangers claiming Whiteside is important because of the wear and tear catchers go through in a season.  It is rare to find a catcher who can play the whole year.  Most teams will platoon their catchers or simply give them off days and send the back-up in.  Whiteside will fill that role with the Rangers.  In doing so, Texas hopes to keep Soto injury free and help him produce up to his potential.

Soto was Rookie of the Year in 2008.  In that season, he hit .285/.364/.504 with 23 home runs.  He struggled in just about every season since.  The one glimmer of hope came in 2010 when Soto hit .280/.393/.497.  Unfortunately, Soto's career line tells the story.  He is a career .248/.336/.437 hitter in eight seasons.

Whiteside has spent time with the Orioles and the Giants over five Major League seasons.  He was claimed off waivers earlier this offseason by the Blue Jays.  Whiteside is a career .215/.273/.335 hitter.

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