Rangers, catcher J.P. Arencibia near one-year contract

12/06/2013 6:01 PM

12/07/2013 12:13 AM

Cabin fever didn’t settle in Thursday morning and drive general manager Jon Daniels to work out a deal with J.P. Arencibia.

The catcher had been a Texas Rangers target much of the off-season, even when he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.

But within the span of four-plus days, Arencibia went from an everyday catcher to a non-tendered player to a free agent glad to have a job with a contender in a division that gets more competitive by the day.

He and the Rangers have closed in on a one-year deal that could top $2 million to be the backup to Geovany Soto, and the Rangers found another missing piece for the 2014 team ahead of the annual winter meetings.

The Rangers did not announce the deal Friday afternoon, but a baseball source indicated that the finishing touches were all that were needed to make the agreement complete.

When it is, Arencibia will have landed softly after a dismal 2013 and a sour ending with a franchise that once considered him a cornerstone to its rebuilding project.

He batted only .212 in 380 games since debuting in 2010, and in 2013 batted just .194 with 148 strikeouts and only 18 walks. His receiving skills were also in need of improvement, and he openly feuded with Blue Jays TV analysts Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst.

Arencibia, though, does have power in his bat, averaging 20 homers in his three big-league seasons.

Daniels declined comment, but earlier in the week said that he was looking for a catcher who was willing to embrace being a backup but also capable of full-time duty in case Soto is injured or doesn’t perform adequately.

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