NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Napoli is on his way to Boston, Geovany Soto is staying in Texas and the Rangers are still looking for catching help. Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox on Monday -- the same day the Rangers officially announced Soto had agreed to a one-year contract. Soto, who made $4.3 million last season, agreed to a salary of $2.75 million, with another $250,000 possible in incentives. Napoli and Soto finished this past season splitting the catching duties. The Rangers are still looking for someone to pair with Soto going into next season, but there still isn't much to choose from. Kelly Shoppach, Bobby Wilson and Miguel Olivo are the kind of names that the Rangers are discussing in their internal meetings.
"It was not a great catching market to begin with, just because of the number of guys out there and the number of clubs looking for catching," general manager Jon Daniels said. "There are a lot of ways we're exploring to find a guy to go with Geovany." The Rangers were interested in Napoli returning. But they were only willing to do a two-year deal, and they knew Napoli was looking for more than that. They also knew that the Red Sox were high on him. The Rangers met with Napoli and his agent, Brian Grieper, last week in Texas. "They were very up front with us throughout the process," Daniels said. "It was not a surprise. I hesitate to use the word 'disappointed,' but we had a decision to make. Mike was a huge part of the best team in the history of the franchise. I don't take that lightly." Soto, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2008, was acquired from the Cubs on July 30. He played in 47 games for the Rangers and hit .196 with five home runs and 25 RBIs. He had a .253 on-base percentage and a .338 slugging percentage. The Rangers liked what he did defensively, especially in working with their pitchers, and the energy he brought to the team. But his offense has fallen off significantly since 2008, when he hit .285 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs. Soto had a .504 slugging percentage that season and a .364 on-base percentage. In 2010, he hit .280 with 17 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .497 slugging percentage in 105 games. But this season, he combined to hit .198 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs in 99 games with the Cubs and Rangers. He was on the disabled list from May 19 to June 17 with a torn meniscus in his left knee. "He certainly came in and worked well with the pitching staff," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Working with the pitchers and getting them through their innings, that's what you want. Offensively, there is more in there. He's in an environment where he is comfortable, we just need to get him into good physical and mental shape coming into camp and get what they got out of him in Chicago when he was the Rookie of the Year." Soto was eligible for arbitration this winter. The Rangers weren't interested in that and non-tendered him on Friday, making him a free agent. But Texas was able to reach an agreement, even though it was for considerably less money. "I feel Texas is where I want to be," Soto said. "There is a lot more I want to do. I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. I want to prove to myself and the Texas Rangers that I am an All-Star-caliber catcher."
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.