Juan Centeno spent last season in the Houston Astros organization and will be with their American League West rivals, the Texas Rangers, in 2018 barring a designated for assignment or trade.
The Rangers were awarded the catcher Monday on a waiver claim, giving them four catchers on the 40-man roster. Centeno ranks second in MLB experience, having debuted in 2013, but having never caught in more than 53 games.
He rates as depth, but also rates as a contender for the Opening Day roster. Robinson Chirinos is going to be the starter March 29 against the Astros, but Brett Nicholas is no longer the shoo-in to be the backup.
Jose Trevino, added last week to the 40-man, might be the best defensive catcher, but has never played above Double A.
Centeno is a better defender than hitter despite some defensive statistics that suggest otherwise. He was carried by the Astros throughout the postseason as their third catcher. He was considered a better defensive catcher than Evan Gattis, though Gattis’ bat is far superior.
Centeno’s MLB defensive statistics don’t reflect the reputation he has for his glove. His minor league stats would suggest he has a good throwing arm.
Here’s another thing: He comes cheap. The Rangers might try to add another catcher this off-season, but if not, they will have more money to spend elsewhere.
After being claimed by the Rangers, the suggestion is that he will compete for the Opening Day roster.