Anyone in the office pool who had Geovany Soto and Eli Whiteside as the Texas Rangers' catchers on Opening Day 2013 might cash in come April 2.
The Rangers claimed Whiteside off waivers Wednesday from Toronto, the third time he has been claimed this off-season, and are prepared to have him be the backup to Soto.
Soto was re-signed Dec. 2, but at the time the Rangers were still in the mix for Mike Napoli. But with Napoli off to Boston, assuming the deal is finally announced, Soto stands as the everyday catcher for the Rangers.
The Rangers will continue to look for an upgrade, but the only attractive free-agent option is A.J. Pierzynski. He's coming off a career year at age 35, turns 36 on Dec. 30, and figures to see a big raise from the $6 million he made in 2012.
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The defense-minded Whiteside, up and down in the San Francisco organization since 2009, might be the choice as the Rangers' second catcher.
"We have always heard very good things about Whiteside's ability to catch and throw and particularly to work with the staff," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're not necessarily done looking at the catching area, but we're very comfortable he can handle the backup role as he's done for San Francisco."
Whiteside spent most of 2012 at Triple A Fresno, batting .224 in 201 at-bats, and had two brief stints with the world-champion Giants. He's a career .215 hitter in 208 big-league games.
But he has had a good success rate throwing out base runners at 31 percent for his career, and he also caught Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter in 2009.
Brandon Snyder, who made the 2012 Opening Day roster as a corner infielder, signed a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Snyder had a six-RBI game May 7 at Baltimore.
Joe Furukawa, who served as Yu Darvish's interpreter throughout the 2012 season, was named the winner of the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award. Furukawa is a scout for the Rangers in Japan.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760