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2014 Mets Season Preview: Taylor Teagarden

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Does Taylor Teagarden bring anything to the table to justify including him on the roster over Anthony Recker?

Chris Trotman

Taylor Teagarden was signed by the Mets and given an invitation to major league camp mainly to provide depth at the catcher position. He's hoping to win a job backing up Travis d'Arnaud and as a bit of a veteran mentor type, but he faces long odds. He's never hit much, and last year was no exception: A .167 batting average with one walk over 62 plate appearances for the Orioles. Almost all of his value has come defensively, and most of that was in his first two season with the Texas Rangers in 2008 and 2009.

Teagarden is now 30 and competing with Anthony Recker and Juan Centeno for a job, both of whom are already on the Mets' 40-man roster. Centeno is five years younger and bats left-handed, which could give the Mets a different look from the right-handed d'Arnaud. Recker actually put up a pretty decent season for the Mets last year, posting an 89 wRC+ in limited time while clubbing six home runs including a game-tying 13th inning bomb off Heath Bell on July 4. Here's how the catchers' career stats compare, via Fangraphs.

Name G PA HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA Off Def WAR
Taylor Teagarden 163 518 20 6.8 35.3 .206 .266 .390 .287 -20.5 11.1 0.8
Anthony Recker 77 230 7 10.0 30.9 .194 .281 .348 .280 -6.2 3.5 0.5

Unless someone gets hurt, Teagarden is very likely to open the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. Catchers get injured a lot, though, and the third or fourth catcher on the depth chart is a fair bet to get some major league time during a 162-game season. Teagarden isn't the best you can hope for in a backup catcher, but if he does end up on the Mets, he'll likely do an adequate job in a supporting role.