The Rangers have a surplus of catchers, amongst other positions, but that surplus got a bit smaller today as Gerald Laird was traded to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo. That leaves the Rangers with three capable young catchers in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez, and Taylor Teagarden. Meanwhile the Tigers can avoid Jason Varitek and roll with the cost-efficient Laird as their starting back-stop.
We'll begin with Laird who recently turned 29. He's likely to see a raise with his second year of arbitration forthcoming, perhaps around 2 million, maybe not. Laird was a league average hitter who catches, meaning he's a rarity at the catcher position. A .330 wOBA (.327 wOBA*) was nice, but a bit out of Laird's norm. With the catcher's positional bonus, Laird still projects to be a 2.5 WAR player, and on at a reduced cost.
Melo is a 17-year-old yet to throw in the United States, I don' thave anything else on him, but I like the term that Adam J. Morris used, "lottery ticket". Moscoso is far more interesting, at least since we have some data from his American performances, and boy is the data compelling. Moscoso record 31% of his outs via swinging strikeouts, unfortunately, StatCorner doesn't have his total percentage of swinging strikes. This was after spending the first part of the season in High-A Lakeland as both a reliever and starter.
Moscoso throws a fastball, curve, and change, and threw a perfect game in 2007, which is to say he apparently has either really good stuff or got lucky. Despite that, Moscoso doesn't walk many, and that's an encouraging sign from the 25-year-old who will almost certainly see time in the majors next season.
Deal looks good on both sides, and could potentially work out very well for the Rangers, who continue to add high potential young talent to their team.