Rangers sign catcher J.P. Arencibia for $1.8 million

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The Rangers nearly traded for J.P. Arencibia before he was non-tendered by the Blue Jays. Now they have him anyway, signing him to a one-year deal, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

It’s worth $1.8 million and includes $300,000 in incentives, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

Arencibia, who turns 28 next month, will battle Geovany Soto for playing time in Texas. He spent the last three years as the Blue Jays’ starting catcher, hitting 62 homers. However, his OBP during that time was a pathetic .260, the second worst mark among all players with 1,000 plate appearances the last three seasons (Yuniesky Betancourt was worst, at .257).  He had 389 strikeouts versus just 72 walks in 1,264 at-bats.

Last season, Arencibia bottomed out to a .227 OBP.

Soto projects better offensively and is the superior defensive catcher, so he should get most of the starts in Texas.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.