Buck with the New York Mets in 2013
July 7, 1980 |
|June 25, 2004, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2014, for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim|
|Runs batted in||491|
|Career highlights and awards|
Johnathan Richard Buck (born July 7, 1980) is an American former professional baseball catcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Florida/Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He went to high school in Taylorsville, Utah.
By 2002, Buck was highly regarded for his defensive ability, becoming one of the game's top minor league catchers and 68th top prospect in all of baseball. In 2003, Buck moved farther up prospect lists. He was listed as the 21st-best prospect in baseball by John Sickels.
On June 24, 2004, the Astros traded him to the Kansas City Royals as part of a three-way deal to acquire Carlos Beltrán, sending Buck and cash to Kansas City and Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. Mark Teahen and Mike Wood went from the Athletics to the Royals as well. The Royals immediately put Buck in their starting lineup, replacing injured veteran Benito Santiago. Buck made his major league debut on June 25. Although he initially appeared overmatched by major-league pitching--his batting average reached a low of .138 on July 7--he impressed the team with his defensive ability and his handling of pitchers. His hitting improved with time, and by September 25 he had raised his average to .243 with 12 home runs, and 30 RBIs.
On December 16, 2009, Buck signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $2 million. On April 29, 2010. Buck hit 3 home runs in a single game against the Oakland Athletics. Buck was elected to the 2010 American League All-Star team on July 4, along with fellow Blue Jays Vernon Wells and José Bautista. In his first All-Star Game, he went 1-2 with a double. Buck finished his only season in Toronto with career-highs in batting average (.281), hits (115), home runs (20), RBI (66), doubles (25), slugging percentage (.489), and on-base plus slugging (.802).
Buck agreed to a three-year contract with the Florida Marlins worth $18 million on November 15, 2010. The deal was confirmed on November 17, 2010. In his first game with the Marlins, he hit a grand slam off New York Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey.
In 2011, he had the lowest percentage of runners caught stealing of all major league catchers, at 17%.
On November 19, 2012, Buck was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Josh Johnson, José Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Emilio Bonifacio, in exchange for Jeff Mathis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Álvarez, Yunel Escobar, Jake Marisnick, Anthony DeSclafani, and Justin Nicolino. On December 17, 2012, the Blue Jays traded Buck, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, and Wuilmer Becerra to the New York Mets for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole, and Mike Nickeas.
Buck began 2013 as the starting catcher, with Anthony Recker as his backup. After a great April in which he hit .241/.269/.575 with 9 HR and 25 RBI, Buck cooled down some. On August 17, Buck was placed on paternity leave, and he was replaced on the roster by the catcher he was traded with, Travis d'Arnaud. d'Arnaud took the starting role when Buck returned, and Buck would soon be traded.
On August 27, 2013, Buck and Marlon Byrd were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later, identified on August 29 as Vic Black. He finished the season as the backup to Russell Martin. In 110 games total (9 with Pittsburgh), he hit .219/.285/.362 with 15 HR and 62 RBI.
On January 14, 2014, Buck agreed to a 1-year, $1 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. He was projected to split time at catcher with Humberto Quintero and Mike Zunino. On July 7, Buck's 34th birthday, the Mariners designated him for assignment. After clearing waivers unclaimed, Buck became a free agent.
Buck was signed to a minor league contract by the Los Angeles Angels on July 21, 2014. He was assigned to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees. The Angels designated Buck for assignment on October 7, 2014, after claiming Alfredo Marte and Roger Kieschnick on waivers. He rejected an assignment to Triple-A, becoming a free agent.
In January 2015, Buck agreed to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves. The contract included an invitation to major-league spring training. Buck was expected to start the 2015 season at Triple-A. However, on March 26, he announced that he was retiring from baseball.