The Angels signed catcher Geovany Soto, the 2008 National League rookie of the year with the Chicago Cubs, to a one-year, $2.8-million contract on Tuesday, giving them a veteran backup to young catcher Carlos Perez.
Soto, 32, has a .246 career batting average with 101 home runs, 141 doubles and 343 runs batted in. He has played for the Cubs, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox. He hit .219 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 78 games for the White Sox last season.
After his breakout rookie season, when he hit .285 with 23 homers and 86 RBIs in 2008, the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Soto battled weight problems. He was also arrested on a marijuana possession charge while playing for the Rangers in 2014.
Considered a solid defensive catcher, Soto has thrown out 159 of 584 base-stealers in his career, a 27% caught-stealing rate that is right around the major league average.
His deal, combined with the signing of utility infielder Cliff Pennington, moves the Angels, who still have holes to fill in left field and at third base, to within about $20 million of the $189-million luxury tax threshold for 2016.