There was no role for Taylor Teagarden on the 2012 Rangers and he was out of options. So the club traded him to a team needing a backup catcher and received two prospects.
The Rangers announced the trade Thursday afternoon, sending the catcher to Baltimore for right-handed pitcher Randy Henry and a player to be named later. That PTBNL won't be determined until after the Rule-5 draft next Thursday. Teagarden will back up Matt Wieters.
"There were a couple of clubs that expressed interest in Teagarden," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Rather than getting to the end of spring training and having limited options at that point, we wanted to make the best baseball deal we could. It gives Taylor a Major League opportunity he didn’t have here, and we add a very interesting young pitcher to our mix in Randy Henry. Quality scouting by our guys to identify him.”
The University of Texas product turns 28 later this month. He was a third-round pick in 2005 and the club was high on him. But he wasn't quite ready to seize a starting job the past few years as the Rangers searched for catching. Once they signed Torrealba to a two-year deal prior to the 2011 season, signed Matt Treanor and then acquired Napoli, Teagarden was stuck in the minors. Napoli's solid spring training behind the plate coupled with a need for an extra arm in the bullpen forced the Rangers to trade Treanor. But even then, Teagarden was third on the depth chart.
Napoli and Torrealba are both under contract for 2012, so Teagarden wasn't likely to make the club out of spring training and he was out of options. By dealing him now, the Rangers can get some prospects for him before trying to unload him at some point during spring training, when the market might be different.
We'll see if Henry can develop into something along with the player to be named later the Rangers acquire once the Rule-5 draft is over.
So who is Henry?
He's 21 and was 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA in 52 2/3 innings at Class A in 2011. He finished the season in the South Atlantic League. He had 40 strikeouts and eight walks. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2009 draft and is 5-5 with a 3.33 ERA (75 2/3 innings) in 40 relief outings in 2010 and 2011. He's an Oklahoma native and did spend two stints on the DL in 2010 with right elbow inflammation.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus tweeted that Henry has a plus fastball with command and good velocity and sink on his pitches. One scout said he throws between 90-93 mph with a nice slider and is a good athlete.
The Rangers have 37 players on the 40-man roster.