Is Geovany Soto Being Shopped?

The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year is coming off a horrible season but is Jim Hendry shopping his catcher?

According to a report from Baseball Prospectus on the eve of the GM Meetings in Chicago, “Catching has become an increasingly difficult position for teams to fill, yet there are some interesting names floating as trade possibilities : the Pirates’ Ryan Doumit, the Rays’ Dioner Navarro, the Rangers’ Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the Cubs’ Geovany Soto.

Geovany Soto had a solid September in 2007 and put up a .426/.462/.745 line with six doubles and three home runs in 16 games … and pretty much names himself Lou Piniella’s starting catcher for 2008.

All Geovany Soto did in 2008 was become the first rookie to start for the National League in the Mid-Summer Classic on his way to becoming the NL Rookie of the Year.

Soto’s line in 2008 … .285/.364/.504/.868 with 35 doubles, two triples, 23 home runs and 86 RBI in 141 games.

But Soto showed up to camp last spring out of shape, spent time in the World Baseball Classic and went back to his team in even worse condition than when he first reported in February.

Geovany Soto struggled mightily in his second full season in the big leagues, even losing time to Koyie Hill. Soto dealt with injuries, a positive test for marijuana use at the WBC and spent time on the DL all while answering questions about a sophomore slump all season.

Soto finished the year with a horrible line of .218/.321/.381/.702 with 19 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 47 RBI … and he seemed to take several steps back defensively as well.

Reports after the end of the season indicated Geovany Soto would work out with Ryan Dempster in Chicago starting in January to prepare for the 2010 season … so could the Cubs be looking to move Soto?

Koyie Hill looks to return in 2010 and Welington Castillo is hitting the ball in limited time in the AFL. Reportedly Castillo made strides defensively in 2009 while his offensive took a step back. Castillo is hitting .357 with a .438 OBP (5-for-14) in four games with the Mesa Solar Sox.

Welington Castillo should be added to the Cubs’ 40-man roster before the November 20 deadline.

Outside of Castillo, the Cubs have Steve Clevenger in the system. Clevenger had a good year with the I-Cubs. Clevenger’s line in 2009 with the Smokies and I-Cubs … .290/.344/.378/.722 with 16 doubles, four triples and one home run in 94 games. Both Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo were non-roster invitees to Spring Training last season.

Stay Tuned …

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