With school back in session, it’s seems only natural that for a second consecutive season the Oakland Athletics would add a substitute catcher to fill their injured ravaged corps behind the plate. As Kurt Suzuki did last season, veteran backstop Geovany Soto is expected to suit up in place of the concussed John Jaso after an August trade. With Oakland going to back to the chalkboard to reevaluate their much publicized catching fleet – perhaps the time is right to take a look at the newest man behind the mask.
Since claiming the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year on the strength of a .285/.364/.504 campaign, the 31-year old’s career has traversed a Cormac McCarthy like road of injury and offensive ineptitude – not to mention the tragedy of being a member of the 2012 and ’13 Texas Rangers. With the exception of a bounce-back 2010, Soto was stuck in a twisted afternoon special of knee injuries, shoulder issues, and tangles with the law courtesy of Josh Gordon’s favorite herbal remedy.
So now on the roster of a contender (sort of), Soto will be face the task of filling in sporadically for Derek Norris. The incumbent Norris has been pressed into full-time duty since Jaso’s disappearance, enduring an untimely slump at the mercy of right-handed starters – his kryptonite. Soto on the other side of the coin, has experienced much of his success against southpaws hitting to a .283/.376/.483 clip over the course of his career verse only .234/.317/.420 against righties. With two backstops slanted so heavily offensively in the same direction, it further illuminates just how desperately the A’s need a healthy John Jaso.
With only two games under his belt since his acquisition on August 24th, the grade is still out on exactly what Soto will bring to a team suddenly hurtling uncontrollably out of control – but he certainly couldn’t make it any worse.