The Texas Rangers ended last season on a high note, snatching the American League West division title away from the Houston Astros. Texas didn’t make any flashy moves this offseason, but did make a couple of solid additions. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers are looking to make one more solid addition. Grant is reporting that the Rangers are “surveying the catching market, looking for a possible addition.” Grant goes on to note that Jonathan Lucroy is not the possible addition in question
The Rangers have been linked to Lucroy all offseason, but have yet to work anything out. It seems now that Texas is turning their attention to a new target, and his name is Derek Norris. The 27-year-old backstop is coming off of a disappointing end to an otherwise career year in 2015. Norris hit .250/.305/.404 with a career-best 14 home runs and 62 RBIs last season. Compared to Lucroy’s $4 million salary, Norris’ $2.9 million salary comes as a cheaper option, both salary-wise and likely prospect-wise.
Unlike Milwaukee, the Padres can easily afford to move Norris, having organizational depth behind the plate. In addition to having Norris, they also have a pair of youngsters in Austin Hedges and Christian Bethancourt. Hedges has earned the reputation of being one of the best defensive catching prospects in baseball. In 2015, Hedges compiled just enough at-bats to lose his prospect status, as he hit an anemic .168/.215/.248 with the Padres. In the event that Norris is dealt, Hedges would be under strong consideration to get the nod at catcher on Opening Day.
San Diego acquired Bethancourt from the Atlanta Braves in December, for a pair of minor league prospects. The 24-year-old, much like Hedges, has also lost his prospect status. He has also struggled to hit major league pitching, hitting .219/.245/.283 in what amounts to just about half of a major league season. Unlike Hedges though, Bethancourt has had some difficulties behind the plate, allowing 14 passed balls in 73 career major league games.
While it remains unclear what comes of Texas’ search for a catching addition, the Rangers have a few options to consider past Norris. Michael McKenry, and Bobby Wilson could serve as internal options for Texas. There are also other outside options they could consider. MLBTradeRumors.com mentions Bryan Holaday of the Detroit Tigers as a possible name of interest.