Texas Rangers

Rangers’ search for backup catcher points to Corporan, Soto

Geovany Soto could return to the Rangers as a backup to Robinson Chirinos as the club seeks a defensive-minded catcher.
Geovany Soto could return to the Rangers as a backup to Robinson Chirinos as the club seeks a defensive-minded catcher. Star-Telegram

The Texas Rangers’ pursuit of a catcher to back up Robinson Chirinos could take them to a familiar face or to a division rival.

The Rangers and the catcher-rich Houston Astros have discussed a trade for Carlos Corporan, according to sources, and the Rangers also have interest in bringing back free agent Geovany Soto.

Originally seeking someone to share the catching load with Chirinos, the Rangers have found the market to be as thin as feared and are looking for a defensive-minded backup. More established catchers available in trades or as free agents are off the board, leaving only backup types.

The Rangers like Chirinos and believe he can handle a heavier workload than the one he took in 2014. His concussion history is a concern and had them leaning toward a catcher who could catch every day in case of a Chirinos injury.

Corporan and Soto aren’t the Rangers’ only targets, but stand as the leading ones. Corporan threw out 22 percent of base runners last year, but has never caught more than 64 games in a season. Soto has, though with diminished results since his stellar rookie season.

Soto was slated to be the Rangers’ No. 1 catcher last season, but suffered an ankle injury that kept him out until July. He returned after the All-Star break, only to suffer a groin injury.

He was arrested in Grapevine shortly before his return and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. The Rangers traded him to Oakland on Aug. 24 for cash considerations.

The Astros are flush with catchers after trading for Hank Conger earlier in the off-season and after trading for Evan Gattis earlier this week.

The Rangers had discussions with Atlanta for Gattis, a Dallas native, but balked at the Braves’ high asking price.

Rangers, Feliz agree

The Rangers and closer Neftali Feliz avoided salary arbitration Thursday, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4.1 million.

Feliz returned to the closer role last season after Joakim Soria was dealt to Detroit in July, and flashed the trademark velocity that made him an All-Star and Rookie of the Year in 2010. He saved 13 games in 2014 with a 1.99 ERA in 312/3 innings.

The Rangers have two more players who are eligible for arbitration. Left-hander Ross Detwiler and first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland will exchange figures with the Rangers on Friday.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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