There seems to be no credence at this point to a rumor that the New York Yankees might be interested in obtaining Mark Teahen from the Royals.
With third baseman Alex Rodriguez opting to undergo hip surgery that will keep him out of action for six to nine weeks, the Yankees have a gaping hole on their infield.
Apparently the rumor started with speculation by ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The rumor was passed along by the Kansas City Star on Sunday.
However, the report came as news to the Royals.
“They’re saying it on ESPN but there’s nothing on our end,” said a Royals official.
Royals manager Trey Hillman, asked about it after Sunday’s game, looked very surprised.
“That’s a head-turner for me,” he said.
Asked on Sunday if the Yankees are looking for other options to fill Rodriguez’s void, general manager Brian Cashman downplayed any rumors.
“I’ll be honest with you; we have not had any discussions internally about that – not myself daydreaming or my pro scouting director [Billy Eppler], though I know he’s proactive, so I’m sure he’s got his lists lined up,” Cashman said. “I guess that’s a gray area. Thankfully, we’re getting [Rodriguez] back, so if something makes sense that you run into, I think we’d gravitate to it. But it’s hard to run into things that make sense, so we’d probably wind up going with what we’ve got.”
What the Yankees have right now is Cody Ransom, a 33-year-old journeyman who batted .302 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 33 games for New York in 2008. Throughout his six-year career, the right-handed hitter has played seven games at third base.
ESPN’s Stark wrote last Thursday that trade options for the Yankees could include Teahen and the Oakland A’s Bobby Crosby. He also speculated that the Yankees might look at free agent Mark Grudzielanek, the ex-Royals second baseman who played many years on the left side at shortstop. In not third base, Grudzielanek presumably could play second base with Robinson Cano moving to third.
At any rate, Teahen or any other player apparently would be a temporary replacement until Rodriguez’s return.
Teahen, who hit .255 with 15 homers and 59 RBIs last season for the Royals, is away from the Royals’ camp to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Moved out of the outfield when the Royals obtained Coco Crisp, he is a candidate for second base this spring.
However, the Royals also view him as a valuable and versatile player who can fill the corner positions in both the infield and outfield.
Teahen’s salary is $3.575 million so dealing him would enable the Royals to cut a payroll which has expanded beyond the budgeted $70 million.
There’s one certain link to the Royals if Rodriguez has his surgery. He won’t be in the Yankees’ lineup when they play in the Royals’ home opener on April 10.
But is there anything in the works regarding Teahen?
“Not to my knowledge at all,” said the Royals official.
— Dick Kaegel