Happy Trade Dead Line Eve, everybody. It seems as though the Chicago Cubs have decided to let us open up a couple of presents early this year. In addition to moving Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to the Atlanta Braves for Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino, the Cubs have also dealt catcher Geovany Soto to the Texas Rangers for right-handed pitcher Jacob Brigham.

With the addition of Soto, the Rangers moved quickly to designate their previous back up catcher Yorvit Torrealba who is in the final year of contract that will see him paid a total of $3.25 million this season. Soto is making $4.3 million this season, and is under team control for one more year, his final before free agency.

However, here’s where things get strange. Both catchers are having terrible seasons. In fact, Soto’s .275 wOBA is worse than Torrealba’s .284 wOBA. I understand that the Rangers are giving up nothing special in Brigham, and that Soto is a couple of years removed from being one of the better offensive catchers in baseball, but if we go by how the season has progressed to date, he isn’t really an upgrade.

I suppose a case could be made that at the very worst, the team has a for sure back up catcher under control next year with Mike Napoli about to be a free agent. However, a raise on $4.3 million for the Soto we’ve seen in 2012 would make me think more about a non-tender candidate than a safety net. At least, the Cubs and Soto will always have this moment.

Brigham is 24 year-old right-hander who was pitching with the Rangers Double A affiliate in the Texas League before the transaction. He isn’t generally considered to be a top prospect in the Texas organization, and projects to be a reliever.

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