|The Rangers and Orioles completed the fourth consecutive trade this offseason in which a big league catcher and a young pitcher switched organizations. The Rangers shipped defensive-minded backstop Taylor Teagarden to the Orioles for high Class A righthander Randy Henry and a player to be named. (Visit Trade Central to read more about the deals involving catchers John Baker, Chris Iannetta and John Jaso.)
UPDATE: Following the Rule 5 draft, Texas acquired speedy Double-A second baseman Greg Miclat as the player to be named. (Dec. 8)
Teagarden pulled down a $725,000 bonus as a third-round pick in 2005 on the strength of his defensive tools, but his bat did not develop enough to carve out regular playing time in Texas—and now he’s out of options. He batted .220/.286/.417 with 16 homers in 392 plate appearances over the course of four stints in Texas, and he didn’t fare a whole lot better in Triple-A, where in parts of three seasons he batted .243/.339/.468 with 21 homers in 430 PAs. (He does have raw power, as evidenced by his home run totals.) Teagarden still receives high grades for his defensive skills, however. He’s an effortless receiver and blocker with a quick, accurate arm who has gunned down 34 percent of basestealers in the big leagues. Teagarden is well-suited to replace Craig Tatum as backup to Matt Wieters in Baltimore.
Teagarden joins a growing number of Rangers expatriates in Baltimore, where the Orioles have seven players on the 40-man roster, all acquired in the last year, who most recently played in the Texas organization. Working backward from Teagarden, the Orioles acquired Darren O’Day in a Nov. 3 waiver claim; righthander Pedro Strop for Mike Gonzalez on Aug. 31; third baseman Chris Davis and righthander Tommy Hunter for Koji Uehara on July 30; lefty Zach Phillips for Nick Green and cash on July 19; and lefty Clay Rapada signed a minor league deal on Jan. 27. Even journeyman righty reliever Willie Eyre spent a season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2010, with a partial-season stopover in the Athletics system prior joining the Orioles.
|Randy Henry, rhp
Born: May 10, 1990 in Shattuck, Okla.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 190. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: South Mountain (Ariz.) CC.
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in fourth round of 2009 draft; signed Aug. 12, 2009.
Henry is an athletic righthander whose best offering is a plus slider that features sharp, late break and tops out at 87 mph. His fast arm produces 91-94 mph fastball velocity with good arm-side run, but he’s still developing a below-average changeup. A 2009 draft pick, Henry spent the majority of the 2011 season in low Class A and injury concerns have been an issue in the past. He endured two separate disabled list stints in 2010 for right elbow inflammation. Though the Rangers will try out Henry as a starter, the combination of his aggressive approach and two above-average pitches profile well as a potential seventh- or eighth-inning reliever.
|Greg Miclat, 2b
Age: 24. Position: 2B (114 G), SS (3 G).
Born: July 23, 1987 in Chesapeake, Va.
Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 180. Bats: B. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Orioles in fifth round of 2008 draft; signed July 31, 2008.
Scouts grade Miclat as a no better than average runner, yet he stole 50 bases in 53 attempts this season in Double-A, ranking behind only New Hamsphire’s Anthony Gose in the Eastern League. Miclat’s 94 percent success rate, however, topped all minor leaguers with at least 30 steal attempts. The 5-foot-9 switch-hitter hits to all fields with a line-drive stroke and draws his share of walks, but he’s probably a fringe-average hitter at best because he strikes out too much for a player with well-below-average power. Miclat did most of his damage versus EL lefties in 2011, batting .317/.412/.417 in 139 at-bats, and he’ll need to up his .662 OPS against righties to find a place on a big league bench. He moved off shortstop in 2011, but he has the hands and arm to handle either middle-infield post in a backup role.
|Taylor Teagarden, c
Age: 27. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: Under club control for 2012-15.
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.