Back in September, I wrote about the Rangers catching situation in a post titled, “Rangers Decide Catching Wins Championships:”
Gerald Laird? Yeah, he’s serviceable. Jarrod Saltimbocca? He was enticing enough to get from the Braves and he’s wonderful with broccoli rabe. Taylor Teagarden? (Has six) HR(s) in (the last) 12 games. Before you rush out to pickup Teagarden, see 1/18 of a centimeter after this period. Max Ramirez, the future at catcher for the Rangers, was called up on Monday night. This gives the Rangers three promising catchers, a fourth usable catcher and no pitchers. Let’s see, the last three World Champions have had Varitek, Pierzynski and one of The Flying Molina Bros. Usable pieces, for sure, but not exactly the cogs that made the offense work. Earth to the Rangers, wtf?
And you can add Carlos Ruiz to that illustrious group of championship catchers. So, is Nolan Ryan trying to make amends for something he said about the catchers he worked with? Did someone roofie this organization’s common sense? Seriously, WTF?! I wasn’t even going to cover these Rangers rookie catcher schmohawks because there’s too many of them for any of them to have any fantasy worth, but there’s word the Rangers are smartening up and trying to trade some of these schmohawks. So what can we expect from Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden for fantasy baseball in 2009?
More than Josh Bard, if they get the job, but right now Laird and Salty are blocking them. Don’t fret, young Razzballian, there’s still some hope. Detroit needs a catcher. Maybe one of these catchers ends up there. There’s talk Laird is going to Motown. Then there’s Blalock who is a back scratch away from pulling a Kotchman. Maybe one of these catchers goes to 1st base. The one that fits the first baseman mitt the most is Max Ramirez. Unfortunately, he’s a bit iffy as a fantasy starter if he gets moved to a corner. He’ll be a sleeper in keeper leagues to watch in 2009, nothing more. I’d rank him fourth behind the other four as of right now. If Laird and Salty are traded, Ramirez, like bran, becomes number two. So who’s number one?
Taylor Teagarden. Let’s assume for the moment he’s the starter in 2009. Now no one, not even Teagarden, thinks he’s the .800+ slugging catcher we saw in September of 2008. Though he does have pop that will only be aided by Arlington’s hot summer and he’s shown his ability to take a walk. His average in 2008 was a bit of a mirage. He’s closer to a 20/60/.260 hitter with a full-time job. Think Mike Crapoli with a slightly better average. With the right offseason breaks, Taylor Teagarden could be the Rangers catcher in 2009. Granted, he needs a lot of breaks. In AL-Only and two catcher leagues, I’m grabbing him late with the hope he somehow emerges from spring training with the job. In most mixed leagues, Teagarden’s not worth a draft pick. Yet. But if he lands the job, get ready to pounce.
Gerald Laird – Was traded to the Tigers ten hours after I posted this. You’re welcome, Rangers. Let me know what else I can advise on. That trade makes the catching order Salty, Teagarden then Ramirez. Now if Blalock gets injured, Salty goes to 1st base and Teagarden catches 75% of the games. As Naughty By Nature once sang, “That shizz is written on a kitten.” I’d now draft Salty in 10 team mixed leagues some time after the top catchers are gone and grab Teagarden late in 12 team mixed leagues and deeper. In AL-Only leagues that draft prior to spring training, they both need to be owned. Just don’t rush to grab Teagarden. He still needs Blalock to get injured. Which means as soon as Blalock is allowed to leave his hermetically-sealed bubble, it’s on like Donkey Kong.