So now it’s a real deal. The Royals have traded Mark Teahen and cash to the White Sox in exchange for second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman Josh Fields.
The Royals announced the trade on Friday, a day after the report was widely circulated.
Teahen, who played both infield and outfield for the Royals, could replace Jermaine Dye as the White Sox right fielder or take over at third base. The White Sox declined their option on Dye’s $12-million contract for 2010.
Just how Getz and Fields would fit into the Royals’ plans remains to be seen. The Royals’ incumbents at those players’ prime positions are .300 hitter Alberto Callaspo at second base and projected star Alex Gordon at third base.
Getz, 26, was Chicago’s primary second baseman last season although he was slowed by a sports hernia which required surgery on Oct. 2. He’s reported about ready to resume his baseball work.
Callaspo gave the Royals a big season at bat, eventually swinging No. 5 in the lineup. No only did he hit .300 but he hit the first 11 home runs of his career with eight triples, 41 doubles and 73 RBIs. But the Royals want to improve their defense, which ranked last in the American League, and Callaspo had 17 errors last season.
Getz, a left-handed batter who hit .262 as a rookie in 2009, played just 107 games with 18 doubles, four triples, two homers and 32 RBIS. But he adds another Royals’ need with speed on the bases. He had 25 steals in 27 attempts.
Fields, also 26, had an impressive rookie season in 2007 when he hit 23 homers and drove in 67 runs while batting .244 in 100 games for the Sox. But Joe Crede reclaimed the third-base job in 2008 and Fields lost out to Gordon Beckham this year.
However, it’s possible that Beckham could move into the Sox’s vacated second-base spot with Teahen playing third base.
Because Fields also has played first base, he could fill a role behind Billy Butler if the Royals decide not to tender Mike Jacobs a contract.
Teahen, 28, gives the Sox versatility. Aquired from the A’s by the Royals in the three-club 2004 Carlos Beltran deal, he played third base in 2005 and 2006, then switched to the outfield when Gordon took over at third base in 2007. Teahen has played right field as well as left and center and first base. Oddly enough, he began 2009 season as the starting second baseman but had to return to third base in early April when Gordon underwent hip surgery.
In his five seasons with Kansas City, Teahen batted .269 in 676 games with 59 homers, 24 triples, 146 doubles and 293 RBIs. His career on-base percentage is .331.
Teahen, a left-handed batter who hits to all fields, this year had a .271 average with 12 homers, 50 RBIs in 144 games, including 99 starts at third base, 31 in right field and three at second.
The cash given up by the Royals will help the Sox pay the expected raise Teahen can be expected to get in salary arbitration. He earned $3.575 million this year and could get into the $5-million range next season. By contrast, Getz made $401,000 and Fields made $410,000 this year and they are not eligible for arbitration.