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.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most:

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 30:  Matt Harvey #33 of the New York Mets celebrates after retiring the side in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox  during their game at Citi Field on May 30, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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There were a lot of complete games and a lot of non-complete games that nonetheless saved tired bullpens yesterday. It’s not like it was 1973 all over again or anything, but it was pretty notable all the same. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 1, White Sox 0: Matt Harvey is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 6/1 since deciding to not talk to the media. Clearly avoiding the press is a good move for him and he should continue to do so.

Braves 5, Giants 3: Mike Foltynewicz gave up an early homer to Brandon Belt but then buckled down and allowed only one run over six innings. Mallex Smith hit a three-run triple. If you squint a little you can imagine those two starring in games that actually matter for Atlanta one day.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 2: Steven Wright allowed two runs on four hits in tossing a complete game. It was his third of those on the year. In 2015 the league leaders in complete games in both the NL and the AL notched four each. Will White had 75 of them in 1879. People always talk about Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak as being baseball’s ultimate unbreakable record. I got my money on Will White’s CG mark. If you insist on going post-deadball era I’ll take Bob Feller’s 36 in 1946, which I’m pretty sure is equally unbreakable.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 0: Carlos Martinez struck out eight in eight shutout innings — he needed that — and Matt Carpenter had four hits. Martinez has owned the Brewers so far in his career. He should be getting quarterly reports and have his own parking space at Miller Park.

Athletics 3, Twins 2: Kendall Graveman had an uncharacteristically solid start. Coco Crisp led off the game with a homer. He also added to the difficulty of a nice Chris Coghlan catch on a sac fly in the fifth, providing a body block of sorts. We’ve still never seen a heel-turn in a major league baseball game, but this is how one would start. They’re more creative now, but back in the 80s all the good heel turns started with some minor accident or miscommunication during a tag team match or something, causing the newly formed heel to believe his friend had turned on him when he really just made a mistake. If Coghlan was getting a push as a new heel, this is how it’d go. I doubt it will happen because MLB’s bookers really aren’t on top of things, but I’m gonna watch the next A’s game anyway to see if he hits Crisp with a metal chair during a standup interview with whoever the A’s version of Gordon Solie is.

Mariners 9, Padres 3Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee homered. It wasn’t too long ago that the two teams combined in a Mariners-Padres game might not score nine runs in a whole three-game series. Or at least it felt like that. Seattle has come a long way.

Reds 11, Rockies 8: An 11-8 game with 28 hits and seven home runs that featured a big lead blown and a big rally that had its momentum maintained by a walk to a pitcher? Let me guess: Coors Field? *checks* Yes, I guessed correctly. Two homers from Adam Duvall who has 11 13 on the year somehow.

Astros 8, Diamondbacks 3: The offense was nice for Houston but a big game from Collin McHugh, going the distance the day after the Astros bullpen got sapped, was huge for them too. Jason Castro drove in three. Houston has won six of seven. I told y’all they’d come around eventually.

Cubs 2, Dodgers 0: Jason Hammel had to leave the game after two shutout innings with hamstring cramps. All the Cubs bullpen did was toss seven perfect innings. Not seven shutout innings. Seven perfect innings. Dang. One hit and one walk in the game for the Dodgers, each off of Hammel.

Rangers 9, Indians 2: Nomar Mazara’s hit a homer — a long homer —  in the fourth innins. He now has five home runs and 12 RBI in his last 11 games. The Astros may be turning it around, but the first place Rangers have won eight of 10 so it’s not like they’re gaining much ground.

Nationals 4, Phillies 3: Daniel Murphy hit a solo homer, singled, doubled and drove in three. He’s at .395/.426/.621 on the year. That’ll play. Bryce Harper had to leave after getting hit on the knee with a pitch, but he shouldn’t miss much time.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: The Jays have taken five of six. Marco Estrada allowed three hits and struck out six in eight shutout innings. Just a ton of strong pitching performances yesterday. Not crazy Kershaw-style things, but a lot of “the bullpen was tired after the weekend and we need you to eat innings” kind of gutsy performances, this one being no exception.

Pirates 10, Marlins 0: OK, I take that back. Jeff Locke had a dominant performance with a three-hit shutout. Although he only struck out one dude, so that may or may not qualify depending on your definition of dominance. 105 pitches and no walks is pretty dang spiffy either way, though. Gregory Polanco hit a grand slam. Guy is hitting .315/.393/.565 from the 7-hole.

Royals 6, Rays 2: Eric Hosmer hit a three-run bomb in the Royals’ four-run eighth inning. Four wins in a row for the champs.

Angels 5, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander and Jhoulys Chacin traded zeroes until the eighth inning when Verlander ran out of zeros. The Angels rallied four five runs that inning, four charged to JV, and Chacin kept cruising, finishing the game with 10 strikeouts and allowing only one run in a complete game.