Mets Sign Taylor Teagarden
In all seriousness, I like this move; I’ve been a fan of Teagarden going back to his days as an up-and-coming prospect in the Texas Rangers organization. Now 30 years old, Teagarden is no longer a prospect, but rather, a hanger-on — his career arc is somewhat similar to that of Landon Powell, who was signed to a minor-league deal around this time last year. However, whereas Powell was always a slugger with passable defense behind the dish, Teagarden’s reputation is as a stellar defender with a questionable bat.
You might call Teagarden a slightly older, more worn and battered version of Anthony Recker, since Teagarden’s strength has always been his ability to “catch and throw,” while providing some long-distance pop, though he struggles to hit for even a decent average. One thing that likely sparked the interest of the Mets is his patient approach and willingness to get into deep counts (though it has led to more strikeouts than walks in his career). He was signed for depth, and likely will battle Recker and possibly Juan Centeno for the backup backstop role — assuming no other catchers are brought in before spring training.
Teagarden’s signing reminded me that there were a number of catching prospects when he was “on the cusp,” in the late 2000s — and few of them actually “made it.” The Rangers, in fact, had an abundance at the time, with Teagarden, Max Ramirez, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Other backstop prospects at that time included Matt Wieters, Jeff Clement, J.R. Towles, Geovany Soto, Daric Barton, Hank Conger, Bryan Anderson, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Jesus Montero, J.P. Arencibia, Wilson Ramos, Kyle Skipworth, and Tyler Flowers, among others. It makes you wonder — will Travis d’Arnaud be another Posey or Wieters, or another Teagarden or Skipworth? Or will he fit somewhere in between — perhaps in Geovany Soto-land? Only time will tell.