Thursday, December 1, 2011

O's Acquire Taylor Teagarden

The Orioles have finally added a second catcher to the roster as they traded a minor league pitcher and a player to be named later to the Rangers for Taylor Teagarden.

I have spent way too much time over the past 5+ seasons worrying about who the Oriole backup catcher would be but Teagarden might be the best of the bunch over that span.

According to Beyond the Boxscore's 2011 catcher defense ratings, Teagarden ranks 22nd in baseball in just 360 plate appearances. At worst, he is an above average defender and at best, he's pretty damn good behind the plate. In the majors, Teagarden strikes out at Mark Reynolds-like levels but without the sweet double-digit walk rates. But he does have .197 ISO over his 392 MLB plate appearances and 16 homers over that span. A .700 level OPS from your part-time catcher is nothing to sneeze at. Great glove and good pop from a backup catcher? That's pretty much all I'm looking for.

To acquire Teagarden, the Orioles sent RHP Randy Henry and a PTBNL to Texas. I have seen Henry a couple of times during his short Oriole minor league career and I like him a lot. He's got a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid-90's, he has a 8.3 K/9 rate and a 5.00 K/BB rate over his minor league career. But objectively, he'll be 22 next season, only has 15 innings pitched above low-A, has a history of elbow problems and projects to be a setup man at best. (According to Baseball America, the Rangers plan to try him out as a starter but I think reliever is his ultimate destination.) When it comes right down to it, trading a reliever in the low minors for a major league catcher, even a backup, isn't a bad move.

Teagarden will be under team control until after the 2015 season. If this works out, Matt Wieters and Teagarden could be partners for a long time.

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