Monday, November 23, 2009

Belated Analysis of the Teahen Trade

So for the second straight year the Royals, led by General Manager Dayton Moore kicked off the offseason by sending Mark Teahen and reported $1 million to Chicago for Josh Fields and Chris Getz. At first glance most Royals fans are probably going to look at this trade and be angered that Kansas City Royals would trade off a fan favorite and only get back to sub-par major league players. Kansas City fans are going to remember the power surge that Mark Teahen had in the second half of 2006. Fans are going to remember the funny videos of Mark Teahen that were shown on the Royals pregame show, and in between innings at Kauffman Stadium. I will go ahead and say this now, but I love this trade.

Obviously when evaluating trades we never know for sure what other offers were on the table so it is important to evaluate the trade as is and not what the rumors stated could have been. However, I think it would be naive to believe that the Royals maximized value on Teahen and considering how the 2009 season played out it probably would have been wise to sell high on season near the trading deadline, as opposed to the offseason when he is about to command a raise in arbitration that makes him a non-tender candidate.

Back to the deal at hand. Let's start with Teahen. Teahen was a personal favorite of mine, but his potential to become an above average major league player while in Kansas City had all but vanished. Fans have made excuses for Teahen and I do believe that one of the downfalls of Teahen's offensive potential were probably a result of him spending offseason preparing for a new position for the upcoming year. I think that there is a decent possibility that Teahen could go to the Windy City and see his offensive numbers improve by a considerable margin, and I think it is possible that he could even get back to the high teens as far as home run totals as a result of moving to a much more hitter-friendly park and knowing his role for an entire offseason.

Now for Chris Getz. Last season in Getz' rookie year for Chicago he posted a slash line of .261/.324/.347 with 25 steals in 27 chances. However, in the minors Getz posted a of .286/.362/.380 career line. Scouts would also say that Getz is an average fielder and even if his metrics at second last season didn't live up to that billing it would be impossible for him to be a worse defensive second baseman than Callaspo. Getz will provide depth at second base and allows the Royals the flexibility to shop Callaspo after coming off what could become his career year. Getz also has 5 years left of service time and most likely wont be arbitration eligible until after the 2011 season.

The other player in the deal is third baseman Josh Fields. Former quarterback for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, Fields probably has the athleticism that would be required for a move into a corner outfield spot and if the Royals do not make anymore moves this offseason (not going to happen) I believe that Fields should be given the starting gig in right field to begin 2010. Fields best season thus far in his young career came in his rookie season when he clubbed 23 home runs, however since then Fields has not been able to put together a full season, much less a solid slash line.

In his career Fields has punished lefties for a .285/.356/.580 career line and has a .206/.280/.348 against righties. Unlike Getz, Fields is out of minor league options though so the Royals will not have the luxury of giving him some more time in triple A to figure out right handed pitcher. Perhaps though Fields can make an adjustment and become a solid middle of the order bat. If not he provides the Royals with a cheap alternative at third, first and perhaps even left and right field.

Overall I think this is a very good trade for the Royals. They trade one year for averageness in Mark Teahen for five years of Getz and Fields. The Royals will also save about 3.5 million dollars in the deal and I assume that unlike the pre-Dayton era, David Glass will not pocket the money and instead invest into another aspect of the club. Teahen will be missed, but I like the depth that Getz and Fields provide the Royals.

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