With the catching market thin to begin with this off-season and with Mike Napoli and Russell Martin having turned down their advances, the Rangers have claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from Toronto.
As thing stand now, Whiteside would be the backup to Geovany Soto in 2013. Soto agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million Dec. 2, and during a conference call said that he was motivated to hold up his end of the deal after admitting that he failed to do so after he was acquired in a trade from the Cubs.
Whiteside was at in Triple A in the Giants' organization most of last year. San Francisco, it turns out, has a pretty good everyday catching option. Whiteside is more noted for his defensive work over 208 major-league games than with the bat. He hit only .224 in Triple A in 2012, and has a .215 career big-league batting average.
The Rangers could still seek to upgrade at catcher. A.J. Pierzynski is the best free agent available, and the Rangers have spoken about Miguel Olivo and Kelly Shoppach.
The addition of Whiteside puts the Rangers' 40-man roster at 40.
The club also announced that Brandon Snyder has agreed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. He was on the Opening Day roster in 2012 and hung around until Mike Olt was promoted at the beginning of August. Snyder was converted to catcher after he was drafted in 2005. So, he's got that going for him, which is nice.
Another former catcher, Japan scout Joe Furukawa, has been named the 2012 winner of the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award. Furukawa spent 2012 as Yu Darvish's interpreter, which couldn't have been an easy job.
-- Jeff Wilson