White Sox overpay for mediocrity, sign Teahen to three-year deal

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Mark Teahen and the White Sox have agreed to a three-year, $14 million contract, which will cover his remaining two seasons of arbitration eligibility and buy out his first year of free agency.
That’s a lot of money for mediocrity, but comes as no surprise given the oddly prevalent notion that Teahen is somehow an impact player. Acquired from the Royals last month for Josh Fields and Chris Getz, Teahen is slated to be the White Sox’s everyday third baseman in 2010 with Gordon Beckham sliding across the diamond to second base.
His defense is below average at third base and Teahen’s bat hardly makes up for the bad glove, as he hit just .271/.325/.408 in 2009 and a combined .270/.330/.407 over the past three seasons. That works out to a .737 OPS from 2007-2009, whereas the average MLB third baseman had a .757 OPS in 2009. Similarly, he’s been 10 runs below average per 150 games at third base according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
He’s certainly a useful player, but as a starting third baseman Teahen is solidly below average on both sides of the ball. Committing to him through 2012 at annual salaries of $3.75 million, $4.75 million, and $5.5 million locks the White Sox into a player who’s far from building-block caliber and eats up a sizable chunk of their payroll for little impact.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.