Monday, January 28, 2008

Tea(garden) Bagging: Catching a Catcher

With Bedard looking to be Seattle bound, the M's rotation seems set and the Brewers, with their plethora of potential starters, are thus rendered poor trading partners. Long story short, don't expect Melvin to wheel and deal for catching prospect Jeff Clement. But a more likely, and arguably more preferable option is Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden.

Teagarden, 24, excelled in high A ball last season and catapulted to AA, where he also posted great numbers. Combined, he hit 27 HR, 83 RBI and to sweeten the pot managed a decent amount of walks and an above .300 average. Based on those numbers, it wouldn't make much sense for Texas to deal him - but circumstances might find him more expendable.

The duo of Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who himself is sparsly more than a minor leaguer) and Gerald Laird is collectively blocking the plate and the TERRIBLE Rangers rotation, who finds Kevin Millwood its ace, might force the Rangers front office to outsource for a more favorable arm. I could see Vargas/Gwynn for Teagarden, or Capuano for Teagarden as possibilities. I'd prefer the former - but I think almost any move that would release some pressure on the rotation and convey an improvement to our woeful and/or roided up stable of so-called "catching prospects" is a move i'll stand behind. The Cards' Bryan Anderson and John Jaso from my beloved Devil Rays would make sense too.

All the pieces seem to be in place at the Major League level, with extra to spare. I think it's best to fill future needs while we're still sellers.


Blogger Jared said...

If the Brewers could make either of those trades, they should do it in a heartbeat. I think it will take quite a bit more to get Teagarden though.

Catching prospects are hardly ever traded because they are so valuable. Remember, it took a proven #2/3 pitcher (Doug Davis) and a pitching prospect (Dana Eveland) to get Johnny Estrada, who was far past prospect status, just last offseason. I would guess any deal for Teagarden would start with someone like Manny Parra and would probably include one or two other players and/or prospects.

January 28, 2008 6:30 PM  
Blogger Jared said...

Oh yeah, I wouldn't be so hard on the Brewers catching prospects either. They have three highly regarded catchers in the minors.

Angel Salome is the #5 ranked prospect in the Brewers system on the Top Prospect Fan Poll and has hit at every level. Jonathan Lucroy, who was just drafted last year, was very impressive in his first time in the minors last year and is the #13 prospect on the poll. And Lou Palmisano is closer to the bigs than either of those other two, though he may be more of backup quality because his bat has not been impressive. He did just miss the cut on the top 20 though.

January 28, 2008 6:36 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Out of the three catchers you've named, I really only buy Salome and even then - a lot of questions emerge with his suspension.

Lucroy was very impressive in rookie ball, which would be great if he kept it up in his ascension through the farm system, but it's too early to even think he can compare to a prospect like Teagarden or Clement, much less pencil him in as an eventual slamdunk big leaguer. I am looking forward to tracking his progression.

I just don't buy Palmisano. He's never played beyond the AA level - where he didn't exactly succeed. He was even worse in a limited AFL stint. Chad Moehler called, he wanted his numbers back. And the Brewerfan Power 50 points out, he's already 25, which isn't too bad for a cause for some sense of urgency.

You do make many valid points though. Agree to disagree.

January 28, 2008 7:18 PM  
Blogger Jared said...

Teagarden and Clement are far from "slamdunk big leaguers" themselves. Lucroy is not as highly regarded right now because he only played a partial season, but that doesn't mean he'll end up being any less of a player. There's even been talk of Clement not panning out at catcher and being moved to first base.

I like the idea of trading for a catching prospect, I'm just not sure the cost for players that are as likely to not pan out as they are to succeed is worth it. Lucroy, Salome and Palmisano don't cost the Brewers a thing.

January 28, 2008 7:39 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Yeah, I didn't mean to imply Teagarden or Clement were slamdunk big leaguers, but they are closer and, to this point, better than any contemporary Brewers farm prospect.

I frankly don't care how the crew results in an everyday catcher for years to come. He can come via trade or be homegrown... I am just growing tired of signing or trading for aging and/or insobordinate backstops to act as a short term solution to something I view as an ever-growing problem.

If Palmisano registers a big league hit for the Brewers in the next two seasons, there's a six pack of 312 with your name on it.

January 28, 2008 7:58 PM  

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