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White Sox Acquire Mark Teahen

Mark TeahenWe already have two trades this offseason. With the first one, Tamba Bay shipped Akinori Iwamura to the Pirates. The emergence of Ben Zobrist made Iwamura expendable, and the money-conscious Rays can use every penny they can get. It's not surprising Iwamura is gone. I am a little surprised that the Pirates picked him up, but he is a solid acquisition for them.

The second deal came today, when Mark Teahen was traded by the Royals to the White Sox. In exchange, Kansas City gets Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

This isn't the worst deal KC general manager Dayton Moore has made, but I have a hard time believing this was the best he could do. Teahen isn't amazing, but he has been a popular trade target for a few seasons. He has value. In return, the Royals got a young, backup middle infielder in Getz, and a powerful third baseman in Fields that is yet to produce at the major league level. This trade hinges on how good Fields is.

What I question is how the Royals didn't get an arm in this trade. They need help all over the diamond, but their bullpen was especially horrific. If the White Sox offered me Fields and Getz, I take Getz out of the deal (after all, KC already has a better second baseman, Alberto Callaspo) and replace Getz with a bullpen arm. Not Bobby Jenks, but someone decent. Kansas City just traded their best trade chip (unless they unload Zack Grienke for a king's fortune), and didn't address their greatest weakness.

On the other hand, this is a nice deal for the White Sox. Presumably, Teahen replaces Jermaine Dye (now a free agent) in the outfield. He is not the hitter Dye is, but he is a better defender. Plus, Teahen is significantly younger and cheaper. Moreover, getting him only cost Fields (who had no future in the organization anyway), and Chris Getz, who I have never seen as much more than a solid bench player, even though he was Chicago's starting second baseman last year. Technically, Chicago traded its starting second baseman, but they should have been looking for an upgrade. Essentially, they turned spare pieces into a decent everyday player.

There are a couple reasons I wrote so much about this trade. First of all, it's nice to have transactions to talk about again. Second, M's second baseman Jose Lopez has an offensive game that fits US Cellular Field well. His dead-pull fly ball style will play much better in US Cellular's fairly cozy left field, whereas it's an awful fit for Safeco's spacious left field. I think Lopez is a logical guy for the M's to trade for many reasons, and the White Sox are an even more logical fit with this Teahen trade. Let the hot stove league begin...

UPDATE (11/6/09): White Sox GM Kenny Williams says that Mark Teahen is the starting third baseman, and Gordon Beckham will move to second base. Perhaps Jermaine Dye is not out of Chicago's plans yet. Regardless, this makes good sense too. In fact, it's usually easier to find outfielders than infielders. It would not surprise me if Beckham asserts himself as one of the better second baseman in baseball next year.