Report: Royals trade Teahen to White Sox for Getz and Fields

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Nothing is official yet, but Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that the Royals have agreed to trade Mark Teahen to the White Sox for Chris Getz and Josh Fields.
According to Madden the White Sox plan to use Teahen in right field as the replacement for free agent Jermaine Dye, who’s not expected back in Chicago. Teahen made $3.575 million this season and has two more years of increasingly expensive arbitration eligibility ahead of him, so the Royals were smart to cash him in now for a pair of young, cheap players, although neither Getz nor Fields is particularly promising.
Despite having a reputation in some circles for being an impact player, Teahen has a modest .269/.331/.419 career hitting line, including .271/.325/.408 this season, and has topped an .800 OPS once in five years. And for all the talk of his supposed defensive versatility, in reality he’s a sub par third baseman who’s logged all of 23 career innings at second base. In other words, he’s basically a corner outfielder or first baseman with a .749 lifetime OPS, which just isn’t very valuable in a 28-year-old making good money.
Getz and Fields aren’t exactly stud prospects, of course, but they have a chance to be solid contributors for the Royals and just as importantly they’re both cheaply under team control for years. Getz hit .261/.324/.347 with 25 steals in 107 games this season as a 25-year-old rookie after batting .301/.369/.442 in 116 games at Triple-A. His defense graded out poorly according to Ultimate Zone Rating, but he should be able to hit .275 or so with a decent on-base percentage, a handful of homers, and good speed.
Fields is tougher to figure, because after a solid rookie season in 2007 he spent nearly all of 2008 in the minors and then struggled between Triple-A and Chicago this year. He’s hit just .229/.302/.416 through 204 games in the majors, which isn’t very promising when combined with the fact that he’ll be 27 years old next month and may not have the glove to stick at third base. Fields has hit .281/.370/.485 in 282 games at Triple-A and has 25-homer power, but he strikes out a ton and doesn’t walk much.
By adding Getz and Fields to the mix the Royals have raised questions about Alex Gordon and Alberto Callaspo while perhaps setting up another trade. Getz doesn’t have much upside beyond “decent all-around second baseman” and Fields is a coin-flip to have even that much value at this point, but he’s not without potential thanks to his power. Plus, parting with Teahen has very little impact on the Royals now or in the future, because he’s a mediocre 28-year-old about to make too much money.
I’m not particularly high on Getz or Fields, but to me this is still a pretty clear win for the Royals, which isn’t something that has been said much since Dayton Moore took over as general manager. For the White Sox, while Teahen wouldn’t be particularly valuable in right field moving Getz could allow Gordon Beckham to shift from third base to second base while clearing the way for general manager Ken Williams to make a major run at free agent Chone Figgins.

It’s spring training for groundskeepers too

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Or, I should say, it’s spring training for whatever automated timer thingie turns the sprinklers on and off.

This was the scene at Goodyear on Saturday as the Indians and Reds played in the bottom of the eighth in their spring training opener. Reds manager Bryan Price says that this was probably the second or third time this has happened in the middle of a game there.

Maybe investigate manually operating that bad boy? Just a suggestion!

The Chicago Cubs: Spring training games, regular season prices

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Craig Calcaterra
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MESA, AZ — I’ve been covering spring training for eight years, and in just those eight years a lot has changed in the Cactus and Grapefruit League experiences. The parks are bigger and fancier and the vibe is far more akin to a regular season major league one than the intimate and laid back atmosphere most people think of when they picture February and March baseball.

Just imagine, however, how much has changed if you’ve been coming to Florida or Arizona for a really long time.

“When we first started coming, you could bring your own beer in,” says Don Harper, a lifelong Cubs fan from Kennewick, Washington who spends his winters in Arizona. “You couldn’t bring a cooler, but you could bring a case of beer and a bag of ice and you just set it down in between you and you just put the ice on it and keep it cold.”

I asked Don if the beer vendors complained.

“They didn’t sell beer,” he said.

That was three decades and two ballparks ago. They certainly sell beer at the Cubs’ gleaming new facility, Sloan Park. Cups of the stuff cost more than a couple of cases did back when Don first started coming to spring training.

The price of beer is not the only thing that has changed, of course. The price of tickets is not what it used to be either. Don told me that when he started coming to Cubs spring training games tickets ran about seven dollars. If that. It’s a bit pricer now. Face value for a single lawn ticket, where you’ll be sitting on a blanker on the outfield berm — can be as high as $47 depending on the day of the week and the opponent. Infield box seats run as high as $85.

The thing is, though, you’re not getting face value seats for Cubs spring training games. Half of the home games sold out within a week of tickets going on sale in January. Since then just about every other game has sold out or soon will. That will force you to get tickets on the secondary market. According to TickPick, the average — average! — Cubs spring training ticket on the secondary market is $106.30. For a single ticket. It’s easily the highest price for spring training tickets in all of baseball, and is $26 higher than secondary market tickets for the next highest team, the Red Sox:

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That may be shocking or even appalling to some, but as the automatic sellouts at Sloan Park and those high secondary market prices suggest, there are at least 15,000 people or so for each Cubs home game who don’t seem to mind. Supply meet demand meet the defending World Series champions.

I spoke with two younger Cubs fans, Corey Hayden and Eleanor Meloul, who traveled here from Salt Lake City. On Sunday they lucked out and got a couple of lawn seats for $28. On Saturday, however, they paid $100 a piece on StubHub to get some seats just beyond third base. I asked them if there is some price point that would keep them from coming.

“There isn’t one,” Hayden said. “I paid $4,500 for a World Series ticket, so . . .”

Don Harper wouldn’t do that, but he doesn’t really mind the higher prices he’s paying for his spring tickets. Of course, he’s a longtime season ticket holder so he gets access to the face value seats. I asked him whether his spring training habit would end if those prices got jacked up higher, as the market would seem to bear, or if he had to resort to the secondary market.

Don paused and sighed, suggesting it was a tough question. As he considered it, I put a hard number on it, asking him if he’d still go if he had to pay $50 per ticket. “Yeah, probably,” he said. “$75?” I asked. He paused again.

“As long as I got enough money.”

Don is a diehard who, one senses, will always find a way to make it work. Corey spent a wad of cash on that once-in-a-lifetime World Series ticket, but he and Eleanor seem content to bargain hunt for the most part and splurge strategically. If you’re a Cubs fan — and if you’re not rich — that’s what you’ll have to do. The ticket it just too hot.