Congratulations to the New York Yankees for winning the Worlds Series, and thanks to the Phillies for making it a competitive series. It was one of the most enjoyable World Series that I have seen in a while.
Though I’m disappointed to see the season end, the end of the World Series marks the beginning of baseball’s second season: the hot stove league. And I have to admit that I enjoy following baseball transactions almost as much as I enjoy watching the games on the field. Teams are wasting no time in preparing for next year. It is my plan to spend significant time evaluating the trades and free-agent signings here this offseason.
I kick off the hot stove season by discussing a trade between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox that sends Mark Teahen to the White Sox for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. With the hype surrounding Mark Teahen, I thought he might garner a bit more in return. Earlier this season—when he was posting a respectable .800 OPS—many pundits laughed as rumors circulated of a Teahen-for-Francoeur swap. Even though Teahen hasn’t blossomed into a star, most analysts thought Jeff Francoeur wasn’t enough to get Teahen. Well, if Francoeur was ever on the table for Teahen, then Moore should have taken that deal. But that ship has sailed, and I doubt that you could pry the Natural from the Jeff Wilpon’s cold, dead hand.
I estimate that Teahen to be worth about $6.5 — $7 million. Like Francoeur, he’s probably played too much, which bumps his value down to $3.5 — $5 million. Last year, Teahen earned $3.6 million in arbitration, and I expect he’ll probably get a small raise for his final year of arbitration. He’s probably worth about what he is making, which explains why the Royals are getting so little in return.
Fields and Getz have almost no redeeming qualities. They can’t hit or field, nor are they young enough to be considered decent prospects. I won’t be shocked if either turns into an adequate major-league player—because players sometimes do this—but, I don’t expect it to happen. Though they make little money, they’ve played so poorly that they’re really not worth much more than what they’re making. Maybe Moore’s scouting eye sees something in these players that indicates a brighter future. I don’t blame him dumping Teahen to take this chance; but, I have to think there’s a higher probability of Teahen having a decent 2010 that would allow Moore to trade Teahen mid-season for a better package. It’s possible that tying up cash in Teahen’s salary for even half a season is not something that the Royals want to do. In the grand scheme of things, it’s difficult to be critical of any move when such small potatoes are involved.
In summary, it’s a pretty even swap (Surprise! Trade is mutually beneficial). The White Sox give up some players who weren’t that useful to get a player who’s not too expensive and might be able to help them immediately. The Royals free up some salary for more pressing needs, and there is a chance that the players could develop in to useful players. It might even be a good idea to stash them in the minors for a year to hold down service time. It may be frustrating to think of what Teahen might have brought, but it’s too late to worry about that now.