Pouliot's thoughts on the Teahen trade, Abreu and more

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White Sox acquire 3B-OF Mark Teahen from the Royals for 2B Chris Getz and 3B Josh Fields
Neither player the White Sox surrendered for Teahen is likely to come back and bite them in a big way.
I just wrote this about Getz in the AL Rookie Review on Monday:

Getz always showed a knack for getting on base, but his lack of power held him back as a prospect. He slipped to the fourth round in the 2005 draft after totaling two homers in two years at Michigan, and he never slugged .400 in any of his first three stops in the minors. He finally busted out with 11 homers at Triple-A Charlotte in 2008, besting his previous high by eight, and the White Sox made him their starting second baseman to begin last year. Unfortunately, neither Getz’s strong OBP nor his newfound power carried over to the majors. He was an outstanding basestealer, going 25-for-27, but he’s not remarkably fast and he displayed only average range at second base. Odds are that Getz will hit for a higher average if he gets another chance, but he’ll probably never be anything more than a fringe regular and his lack of versatility gives him little margin for error. That second-base upgrades tend to come pretty cheap will make Getz a risky pick next spring.

Fields is a subpar defensive third baseman with big contact issues. He’s hit .229/.302/.416 in 664 major league at-bats.
Regardless, I’m still a big fan of this trade for the Royals. There was a very good case for non-tendering Teahen, given that he’s due somewhere around $4.2 million-$4.6 million in arbitration. The 28-year-old hit .271/.325/.408 last season. He strikeout rate is way too high for someone with middling power, his walk rate has gone from mediocre to bad and he’s not an asset defensively at any of his positions. Reports indicate that the White Sox plan to make him the replacement for Jermaine Dye in right field. I’d rather have Jody Gerut, and it’s quite possible he won’t cost more than $1 million this winter.
Kansas City gets two still somewhat interesting pieces, both of whom will make the minimum. Getz can’t hit with Alberto Callaspo at second base, but he is the better defender of the two. It’ll make sense to play him against plenty of right-handers, with Callaspo possibly DHing or playing third if Alex Gordon doesn’t get it together.
Fields is more Gordon insurance at third base, but he’d probably make more sense in the outfield at this point. He has 25- or 30-homer power, and the change of scenery just might do him some good.
The 2009 Royals simply had no intriguing alternatives when it came time to plug holes, which is why Willie Bloomquist got 434 at-bats and Mitch Maier received 341. It’s possible that neither Getz nor Fields will crack the starting lineup on Opening Day — it’d probably be for the best if neither did — but both should be on the roster and they have the potential to force their way into the Royals’ plans.
As for the White Sox, it’s less a matter of the talent surrendered that that they’re going to use more than $4 million of their budget on a player who quite likely would have gone for less as a free agent and that they’re going to play him regularly when he might be more of a 10th man. Teahen has hit like a corner outfielder once in five years as a major leaguer. There’s little reason to believe it’s about to happen for a second time. They have the option of using him at third base and moving Gordon Beckham to second, but I’m not sure that’s preferable. Teahen is stronger defensively in right than he is at third base.
Angels re-sign OF Bobby Abreu to a two-year, $19 million contract with a vesting option for 2011
I assumed this would get done for right around $20 million. Abreu made more sense for the Angels than Vladimir Guerrero going forward, not that the team couldn’t make room for both if it wanted to.
Abreu certainly isn’t what he was. From 1998 through 2006, his lowest OPS was 877 and he was over 900 six times. In the three years since, he’s come in at 814, 843 and 825.
Fortunately, that still makes him an above average corner outfielder, particularly since it’s so OBP heavy. He also gets big points for durability, having played in 150 games in each of his 12 seasons as a regular. His defense was better last season after an ugly year for the Yankees in 2008, and he continues to contribute on the basepaths. He’s clearly worth the $9 million per year, and the Angels were smart to bring him back.
Dodgers decline RHP Jon Garland’s $10 million option for 2010
That the Diamondbacks are on the hook for Garland’s $2.5 million buyout made it an easy call. Garland, who went 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts after being acquired in August, may have been worth $7.5 million on a one-year deal, but $10 million was excessive. He’ll become a free agent and shop for a two- or three-year pact.
White Sox re-sign 1B-OF Mark Kotsay to a one-year, $1.5 million contract
A harmless signing. Kotsay is still a perfectly reasonable reserve with his ability to handle center field on a limited basis and his quality defense in the corners and at first base. If he’s limited to 200 at-bats or so, he’ll be an asset. He was well ahead of that pace during his time with the White Sox last season, but that was largely a result of the Jim Thome trade.

White Sox ballpark to be renamed “Guaranteed Rate Field”

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10:  General view as members of the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins stand for the National Anthem before the White Sox home opener at U.S. Cellular Field on April 10, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Stadium naming rights have long been with us. They’re just a part of the sports landscape now. Some are pretty spiffy despite their corporate underwriting: “Great American Ballpark” could be the name of a sports facility even if it wasn’t also the name of an insurance company. “Progressive Field” could be the name of a field even an anti-corporate dude like Bernie Sanders could appreciate, at least if he’s sloppy with capitalization.

Others are clunky: “Globe Life Park in Arlington” seems to have both adjective and preposition problems, as if it were run through a foreign language translator and then back again to English. The joint in Oakland went by the name O.co Coliseum for a spell. That was for Overstock.com, but it didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

At the risk of being snobbish, I think it’s fair to say that there are also higher and lower rent names as well. Banks, airlines and beer companies, however crassly commercial they are, seem a bit more respectable and venerable than, say, the fly-by-night dot com companies which named sports facilities for several years. “Chase” and “Coors” aren’t going anyplace. Those places are named after American institutions, even if they’re still corporate institutions. I’m pretty sure that circa 2001 half the stadiums and arenas in the country were named after businesses still being run out of tech incubators in nondescript office parks, their first biggest investment being the naming rights, their second biggest investment being the ping pong table in the break room.

The White Sox have long played in “U.S. Cellular Field.” This is pretty dicey as it is, given that that company is only a regional wireless provider. Fifth largest in the country. Certainly not A-list, and likely far more identifiable to more Americans as the name of a ballpark than the name of a going telecommunications concern, thereby sort of defeating the purpose of naming rights. Which must be why U.S. Cellular is getting out of the naming rights business, leaving the White Sox to find a different naming rights partner:

As the tenth largest mortgage company in the country, is there even any guarantee that Guaranteed Rate will be in business in 2030? If the choices are “it goes under,” “it gets purchased by a larger lender” and “it’s still there,” I am not putting money on the latter choice.

That aside, it’s just a goofy name for a ballpark. It’ll better lend itself to columnist jokes about bad guaranteed contracts for bust veterans than it will to spreading awareness of a financial services company. And don’t even get me started on the dissonance between the ballpark name and its tenant’s ticket price policies:

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Best work on that, guys.

UPDATE: LOL

 

Phillies’ Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz cleared waivers

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 10:  Ryan Howard #6 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on a 3 RBI double in the ninth inning off of Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 10,  2016 in Los Angeles, California. Phillies won 6-2.  (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and catcher Carlos Ruiz have both cleared waivers, which means the club can attempt to trade either player unimpeded. Stark adds that two teams are mulling a pursuit of Ruiz, but Howard is “virtually certain” to stay with the Phillies.

Howard, 36, has unimpressive overall stats, as he’s carrying a .198/.252/.445 triple-slash line with 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 286 plate appearances. The Phillies have limited Howard to right-handed pitching by platooning him with Tommy Joseph.

Shockingly, Howard has been one of the best hitters of the second half, as Corinne Landrey explains at FanGraphs. Using wRC+, an all encompassing offensive statistic that sets 100 at average, only Joey Votto has been a more productive hitter since the All-Star break, owning a 226 wRC+ to Howard’s 191. Howard is trailed by Freddie Freeman (179), Adrian Gonzalez (149), and Paul Goldschmidt (140).

Howard is owed the remainder of his $25 million salary for the 2016 season as well as a $10 million buyout for ’17. Despite Howard’s productive second half and even if the Phillies were to cover all of the remaining money owed, there won’t be much of a market for an inconsistent 1B/DH in his mid-30’s who can’t field, can’t run, and can’t hit left-handed pitching.

Ruiz, 37, has had a solid season, batting .261/.368/.352 in 193 plate appearances. Like Howard, Ruiz has lost playing time at his primary position to a younger player — Cameron Rupp, in this case. Ruiz is owed the remainder of his $8.5 million salary and is under contract next season if his controlling club picks up his $4.5 million option. That option may make him even more attractive to interested clubs, as Ruiz is still a valuable catcher. He has accrued 1.3 Wins Above Replacement despite limited playing time and has a reputation for working well with his pitchers. A playoff-bound club could do a lot worse.