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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.

UPDATE:

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.

From Around The Web

  1. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    How do you make your projections, Grey? Just curious.

    Also, if Teagarden hits a homerun, would you call that a Teabagger?

  2. Van Hammersly says:
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    And Laird is Detroit-bound!

  3. @IowaCubs: Grey uses the world-renowned LaSattes method (Looks at Stats and then takes educated stab)

    I think Nolan Ryan should bulldog a pitcher in the farm system to change their last name to Scone or Crumpet to create the most fancypants battery ever….(bettering Nideo Homo to Piazza)

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Same way everyone does, by looking at past performance and projecting forward.

    I like Teabagger. That’s not bad.

    @Van Hammersly: Nice, now they just need to lose Salty or have Blalock go down with an injury.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Rudy Gamble: I picture Nolan Ryan bulldogging people all day. “All of our stereo equipment is on the 2nd floor.” Ryan charges the Circuit City employee and wrestles him to the ground.

  6. @Grey: I picture Nolan Ryan running spring training and limiting the drills to:

    1) Exercise regiment – Leg thrusts and twisting your arm in a bucket of rice
    2) Wrestling calves and rookies to the ground
    3) Simulation games where each pitcher throws 200 pitches against a barn.
    4) All hitters and pitchers must take part in brushback pitch drill.
    5) Simulated pitching mound brawls (takedown – two points!)

  7. ogma107 says:
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    WFAN-NY just reporting that Rangers announced at Winter Meetings this morning that Laird is headed to the Tigers.

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Van Hammersly: I updated the post with the trade information. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @ogma107: Yup, I updated the post above.

  10. VanHammersly says:
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    @Grey: You certainly were a soothsayer (<— WOTD) about the Laird deal.

    Speaking of catchers, I grabbed Soto in a late round last season in my keeper league and obviously enjoyed the numbers he brought to the position. At the same time, I feel even though he should be able to put up well-above-average catcher numbers for another few seasons, they are still pretty average numbers when compared to good corner OFs and 1B/3B types. So, assuming he goes into ’09 really overrated, should I look to deal Soto either leading up to my draft in March or sometime in early April while his value is still high? I know it would depend on the return I’d get, but I imagine that an over-eager manager would trade a top 50 fantasy player for Soto pretty easily. Anybody specifically to target?

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @VanHammersly: Sorry about the delay, I was replacing the 2008 Rankings with the 2009 Rankings link and it took a lot longer than expected.

    If you can get a top 50 player for Soto, I’d almost certainly make the trade, excluding only a few guys that I’m not crazy about. I’d target a top hitter who will be better in 2009 than he was in 2008, think Matt Kemp, Alfonso Soriano, BJ Upton, etc.

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