Mets Sign Taylor Teagarden

Stop the presses! The Mets have signed 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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Rev.Al January 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm
    Well ,they never promised us a Rosegarden ?
    • crozier January 7, 2014 at 12:33 am
      Oh, great. Now I have the image of Alderson – in Lynn Anderson drag, no less – singing that to the press corp after another disappointing season.

      No more Internet for me tonight.

  2. argonbunnies January 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm
    Wow, the hotshot catcher success rate is pretty abysmal, isn’t it? I remember when Clement was rated as the #3 or so prospect in the game, and the Mariners were given a pass (by some) for dealing Jones and Tillman for Bedard because they still had Clement. I also remember Barton’s amazing OBP in the low minors, and of course Montero being traded for the best rookie pitcher of 2011. Despite becoming one of the better all-around catchers in baseball, even Wieters has disappointed, with a career OPS below league average.

    The best comparable for d’Arnaud may be Towles, who rocked AA at age 23 and AAA at 24 (when healthy), and was billed as a top hitter on his MLB arrival. Let’s hope Travis fares better than the .187 career average Towles compiled.

  3. Dan Capwell January 7, 2014 at 8:51 am
    Here’s the problem with this signing: Teagarden will end up with about 60 starts this year. Look at that 2013 slash line of 167/180/300. Right up Sandy Alderson’s alley, it would seem.
  4. DanB January 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm
    sorry about the off topic question, but I read that Njer Morgan wants to leave Japan and play in the MLB. What do you think? Could Morgan and all his antics be the new centerfielder/leadoff hitter for the Mets?
    • DaveSchneck January 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm
      “Ladies and Gentlemen, now leading off for the Mets, number 99, Tony Plush”. Not a bad idea, things look to be boring around these parts now that Valdy is in Florida. If not that, maybe they can do something like adding Lenny Dykstra or Kris Benson to the coaching staff. After all, this is NYC, isn’t it good to have a little drama besides who will play 1B?
      • izzy January 7, 2014 at 6:54 pm
        Won’t see poor Benson coming back. His wife was a naughty girl at Wilpon’s Christmas party and that is not allowed. Its ok to be part of a swindle scheme for decades, but don’ mess around with the Christmas party. Right Dickey, Right Anna!!!!!!!
    • argonbunnies January 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm
      I was hoping for Brian Wilson to join the team as a DI (designated interviewee), but Morgan would be a decent fallback option now that Wilson’s signed with L.A.

      On the other hand, T-Plush would be yet one more reason for the world to not take the Mets seriously. If the roganization wants to cultivate the perception that they’re serious about winning (or about anything, really), Morgan probably shouldn’t be invited.

      • DaveSchneck January 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm
        Winning or TMZ/entertainment value? Tough call. The Yankee fans didn’t know how good they had it with those Bronx Zoo teams…the best of both worlds.
  5. DanB January 8, 2014 at 12:24 pm
    AB, I see your point however running your team based on fears of how other teams perceive you is not the best policy. What if Japan was a learning experience? What if the rejection by all of MLB gave Tony P a new maturity? The Mets need a leadoff hitter. DWright was in his glory when Reyes was always on second when he got up. If it adds wins at little cost, who cares what others think?