Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto has been diagnosed with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, and he is expected to miss 10-12 weeks after undergoing surgery sometime this week. Soto was in line to replace A.J. Pierzynski as the Rangers’ No. 1 catcher this year, so J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos will now become the top options at the position for Texas to start the season.
Arencibia has 62 home runs over the last three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, but Chirinos is hitting over .400 this spring and all indications are he has outperformed Arencibia defensively as well. With Opening Day now in sight, are Chirinos and Arencibia firmly on the radar of fantasy baseball owners?
Chirinos spent most of last season in Triple-A after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in April, but he did see action at first base and third base as well as behind the plate in 13 games for the Rangers. But he only has 33 games of major league experience at age 29, with a .260 average, 93 home runs and 460 RBI over 3,456 minor league at-bats.
Chirinos has performed well this spring, and with a path to playing time he has a chance to continue that hot streak during the early part of the season. But I’m skeptical Chirinos can make any sort of notable contribution for the Rangers, or fantasy owners, even with a notable level of playing time possible over the first two months of the season.
For AL-only league owners that want to take a flier on a Rangers’ catcher while Soto is out, Arencibia is the one to target based purely on his power potential. For those that have already drafted Soto, he can safely be dropped and perhaps re-added in AL-only and deep mixed leagues when he is closer to returning to action.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.