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.

Major League Baseball needs to make an example out of José Ureña

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We’re about an hour and a half separated from the first pitch of Wednesday night’s Marlins/Braves game that featured Marlins starter José Ureña hitting Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña on the elbow with a first-pitch, 97.5 MPH fastball. The benches emptied, Ureña was ejected, and the game went on. Acuña left the game not long after to tend to his injured elbow.

After the game, when the Marlins speak to the media, they will almost certainly deny any ill intent towards Acuña, who had hit leadoff home runs in three consecutive games against them. When they do so, they will be lying. Watch how catcher J.T. Realmuto sets up on the first pitch.

ESPN Stats & Info notes that Ureña’s 97.5 MPH fastball was in the 99th percentile in terms of velocity of the 2,125 pitches he has thrown this season. It was also the fastest pitch Ureña has ever thrown to begin a game. Ureña put a little extra mustard on this pitch, for some reason.

Ureña has a 6.8 percent walk rate, which ranks 37th out of 95 starters with at least 100 innings of work this season. The major league average is eight percent. Control isn’t typically something with which he struggles.

Furthermore, Acuña isn’t the only player who has drawn Ureña’s ire:

Ureña wanted nothing to do with Hoskins — even though Hoskins has yet to get a hit off of him — in his August 4 start at home against the Phillies, walking him twice which included a few up-and-in pitches.

Ureña will almost certainly be fined and suspended for his actions on Wednesday night against Acuña. But will his punishment be enough to deter him and others from wielding a baseball as a weapon? Probably not. On June 19, when Marlins starter Dan Straily intentionally threw at Buster Posey, he received a five-game suspension and manager Don Mattingly was suspended one game. If you look at Straily’s game logs, you can’t even tell he was suspended. He started six days later on June 25 against the Diamondbacks and again on July 1 and 6. Because starters only pitch once every five days, it was like he wasn’t even suspended at all.

Major League Baseball needs to levy harsher punishments on players who attempt to injure other players. A 15-game suspension, for example, would force Ureña to miss at least two starts and it would inconvenience the Marlins enough to more seriously weigh the pros and cons of exacting revenge. The Marlins couldn’t work around it the way they did Straily by pushing back his scheduled start one day.

Major League Baseball also needs to make a legitimate effort to do away with this culture of revenge against players who are just a little bit too happy. Batters get thrown at when they flip their bats, when they yell at themselves in frustration, and even when they’re just hitting well. Baseball’s stagnating audience is very old, very white, and very male. It is not going to bring in fans from diverse backgrounds by keeping this antiquated culture that prevents baseball players from showing their personalities and being emotive. In the event Acuña needs to go on the disabled list for a couple weeks, that’s two weeks that Acuña isn’t on SportsCenter’s top-10, isn’t on the front page of MLB.com, and isn’t in articles like this. The culture of revenge is actively harming MLB’s ability to market its bright, young stars. If ending this culture of revenge doesn’t hit MLB from a moral angle, it should absolutely hit home from a business angle.