Napoli gone; Soto is back; Daniels is still working

Rangers vs Red Sox

Credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Mike Napoli connects for a two-run double against the Boston Red Sox in April, 2012.. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 9:25 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It's a good off-season to be a free agent catcher, but a bad one for teams needing a catcher.

Mike Napoli cashed in to the tune of a three-year, $39 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. As Fox's Ken Rosenthal told us, the Rangers weren't even willing to make Napoli a one-year qualifying offer at $13 million, much less a three-year deal worth that much annually.

The Red Sox have yet to announce the deal with Napoli, so it's still unofficial, and Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels didn't want to comment on that side of the deal. But he did talk about what Napoli has meant to the organization over the two years he played in Arlington.

"We would've loved to have Nap back," Daniels said outside his hotel room at the Gaylord Opryland. "At the end of the day, he had a pretty robust market out there; he's a heck of a player.

"He was a huge cog on — in my opinion — the best team, or group of teams, in the history of this franchise."

Led by Daniels, the Rangers have shown the willingness to spend big money without overspending. So instead of paying too much for Napoli, the Rangers re-signed catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year deal worth a reported $2.75 million.

Soto began the 2012 season with the Chicago Cubs before coming to the Rangers at the trade deadline near the end of July. His combined batting average was .198.

"He did some things really well handling the staff, fit in well in our clubhouse," Daniels said about his decision to return Soto to the Rangers lineup. "I think there's more in there offensively than he showed."

By no means does Soto solve the void behind the plate; Daniels said that the team is still looking for help at that position.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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