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.

The Marlins have made a “monster offer” for Kenley Jansen

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning of game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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OXON HILL, MD — The morning after Aroldis Chapman signed for a record $86 million, the Miami Marlins are reported to have made similarly lucrative offer to the other top free agent closer, Kenley Jansen.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo says that the Marlins have made “a monster offer” of five years and more than $80 million to Jansen. This despite the fact that the club is coming off of a 79-win season and, tragically, lost their top pitcher Jose Fernandez in a fatal boating accident, which will substantially harm their competitive prospects. While it seems like a stretch to say that the Yankees will compete for a playoff spot, thereby making such an historically large investment in a closer a bit suspect, the Marlins doing so is even more questionable.

Meanwhile, the Nationals are said to be interested in Jansen as well, though Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post says the Nats are “uncomfortable” with the financial commitment signing him would require.

Jansen most recently pitched for the Dodgers and there have been no reports that they’re totally out on him, but there has been nothing to suggest that they are pushing hard for him either.

Jansen, 29, finished this past season with 47 saves, a 1.83 ERA, and a 104/11 K/BB ratio in 68.2 innings. That’s not quite Aroldis Chapman good, but he seems poised to collect something close to Aroldis Chapman money.

The Yankees are paying $86 million for a one-inning reliever

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OXON HILL, MD — The Yankees signing of Aroldis Chapman late Wednesday night came as something of a surprise. And the money — $86 million — was something of a shock. Yes, we knew that Chapman was going to break the bank and likely set a record as the highest paid relief pitcher in history, but seeing it in black and white like that is still rather jarring.

In the coming days, many people who attempt to analyze and contextualize this signing will do so by pointing to the 2016 playoffs and the unconventional use of relievers by Terry Francona and the Indians and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. They’ll talk about how the paradigm of bullpen use has shifted and how relief pitchers have taken on a new importance in today’s game. Chapman’s astronomical salary, therefore, will be described as somehow more reasonable and somewhat less shocking than it first seems.

Don’t buy that jive for a second.

Yes, Andrew Miller and, to some extent, Chapman himself were used unconventionally in the 2016 playoffs, but not long into the 2017 season we will see that as an exception, not the rule. And not just because Chapman showed himself unable to hold up to that level of use in the playoffs. It will be the exception because the Yankees have shown no inclination whatsoever to deviate from traditional bullpen usage in the past and there is no reason to expect that they will do so with Chapman in the future.

As you no doubt remember, the Yankees had Chapman, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller for the first half of 2016. Such an imposing back end of a bullpen has rarely been seen in recent history. All of them, however, were used, more or less, as one-inning-a-piece guys and no real effort was ever made to break any bullpen usage paradigms or to shorten games the way many applauded Terry Francona for doing in the playoffs.

Miller pitched 44 games for the Yankees, totaling 45.1 innings. He pitched more than a single inning on only three occasions. Chapman pitched 31 games for the Yankees, amassing 31.1 innings. He was used for more than one inning only twice. Betances worked in 73 games, totaling 73 innings. On 11 occasions he pitched more than one inning.  It was unconventional for a team to have three relievers that good, but they were not, in any way, used unconventionally. Nor is there any reason to expect Chapman to be used unconventionally in 2017, especially given that Miller is not around and Chapman has shown no real ability to be stretched for multiple innings for a sustained period.

None of which is to say that having Chapman around is a bad thing or that he is any less of a closer than his reputation suggests. It’s merely to say that the Yankees paying Chapman unprecedented money for a closer should not be justified by the alleged new importance of relief pitchers or that changing role for them we heard so much about in the playoffs. Indeed, I suspect that that changing role applies only to pitcher use in the playoffs. And I do not suspect that this transaction alone pushes the Yankees into serious playoff contention, making that temporary unconventionality something of a moot point in New York for the foreseeable future.

It is almost certain that the Yankees are paying $86 million for the same one-inning closer Aroldis Chapman has been for his entire seven-year career. His contract may or may not prove to be a good one for New York based on how he performs, but don’t let anyone tell you now, in Decemeber 2016, that it’s better than you think because Chapman will somehow transform into a 1970s-style relief ace or something.