Today was supposed to be a day in which the Cubs Convention took the spot light. However, that did not stop Jim Hendry from doing his job, as he got a deal done with Cubs Catcher Geovany Soto, who is in town for the convention. The Cubs signed Soto to a 1 year/3 MM deal today, thus avoiding arbitration with the slugger.
Soto, who will be 28 on Thursday, gets a bit of an early birthday present, as he will make about double this year as he has in his previous 3 seasons in the MLB. Soto is coming off a 2010 in which he made just $575,000. Despite making his MLB debut in 2005, Soto did not have an impact on the MLB team until 2007, when he was called up in September and split time with Jason Kendall at catcher and even made the playoff team. Eager to prove himself in a full time capacity, Soto did not disappoint, as he put up a .371 wOBA, a .868 OPS, and won the Rookie of the Year award.
In addition to being overweight, an injury plagued 2009 led for a lot to be desired. However, Soto certainly rebounded with the best season of his young career in 2010, as he led all catchers with over 300 PAs with a .385 wOBA, a .890 OPS, and a 16% walk rate. However, Soto’s raw counting stats(HR, H, BB, et cetera) were not as high 2010, so how was he better? Unfortunately for Soto, Lou Pinella is a old dumbass and does not realize that when you have one of the best catchers in the game, you do not bench him in favor of Koyie Hill. Because of Pinella’s idiocy, Soto received under 400 pAs. Any manager who benches the best hitting catcher in that given year, deserves to be out of the game. It is a shame that Jim Hendry didn’t have enough balls to fire Lou and instead Lou got to leave on his “own terms.”
Nevertheless, this signing is certainly worth it, as Soto has shown how good he can be. We are giving up 3 million and getting back one of the best catchers in the game. Let’s just hope that Mike Quade realizes what a good thing he has and leaves Koyie Hill on the bench except when absolutely necessary. If not, we may see a repeat of 2010 and that is certainly something that the North Siders do not want to see again.
*Stats provided by FanGraphs.com. I encourage you to join the forum and talk with us in the Cubs forum about this! I would love to hear your opinions.