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.

Wait, what is the non-tender deadline again?

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For the next day and a half you’ll hear a lot about the non-tender deadline and/or players being tendered or not tendered a contract. Here, in case you’re unaware, is what that means.

By midnight on Wednesday teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player. Now, to be clear, the team is not simply “tendering” the player the actual contract specifying what he’ll be paid. Think of it as more of a token gesture — a placeholder contract — at that point the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2016 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement avoiding arbitration) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If the team non-tenders a player, however, that player immediately becomes a free agent, eligible to sign anywhere with no strings attached.

Basically, the calculus is whether or not the team thinks the player in question is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2015, he’s probably going to be non-tendered.

MLB Trade Rumors has a handy “Non-Tender Tracker” which lists the status of the couple hundred arbitration eligible players and whether or not they’ve been tendered a contract. We’ll, of course, make mention of notable non-tender guys as their status for 2016 becomes known over the next day or two.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.