A week ago, Jon Daniels said he was prepared to go into the season with the catchers he had. Which meant one thing was certain: he was not going to go into the season with the catchers he had.
Unwilling to pay the price for a front-end catcher like Jonathan Lucroy or Derek Norris, the Rangers backfilled by making a trade with Detroit for their third-string catcher Bryan Holaday.
Out of options and with two catchers in the Tigers system ahead of him (starter James McCann and backup Jerod Saltalamacchia), the twenty-eight-year-old Holaday, who’s from Dallas and played at W.T. White in high school and at TCU in college, was out of minor league options. He would have been released had he not been traded.
Holaday is hitting .438 this spring, with four home runs.
In real games, he’s a .251 hitter who bats from the right side, has three home runs, and thirty RBIs in parts of four major league seasons. He played twenty-four games last season and got into as many as sixty-two in 2014.
Lacking a viable catcher in the system, Holaday offers reliablitiy as a backup, with solid defense (but not as respected defensively as Bobby Wilson, whom he was traded for) and an improved approach offensively, having rebuilt his swing over the winter.
It seems to be working.
So now the Rangers twenty-five-man roster is at twenty-four. The last slot comes down to either carrying A.J. Griffin as the fifth starter or choosing from either lefty Cesar Ramos or righty Phil Klein out of the pen. Griffin is more likely.
Here is the roster as of yesterday’s moves: