The Chicago White Sox organization has traded rookie second baseman Chris Getz and disappointing third baseman Josh Fields, a former first round draft pick, to the Kansas City Royals for infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen.
With a .323 wOBA in ’09, Teahen is nothing special as a hitter, especially for someone who spends most of his time at third base or in right field. The 28-year-old posted a 0.3 WAR in ’09 and was a both a below-average hitter and a below-average fielder at every position he played at. For fantasy managers, Teahen has value simply because of his versatility; he should be eligible for third base and the outfield in all formats, while he also appeared in 11 games at first base and three games at second base. He is good for a batting average of about .250-270 and, if he plays everyday, he should produce 12-18 homers, although the move to Chicago could inflate his offensive numbers. With the outfield depth looking pretty good, Teahen should see everyday duty at third base with Gordon Beckham moving back to his natural position at shortstop and Alexei Ramirez sliding back to second base.
Fields wore out his welcome in Chicago in ’09 with another disappointing season. He hit just .222/.301/.347 in 239 at-bats and was eventually pushed aside by Beckham. Fields will turn 27 in December so time is running out for him to reclaim the form that saw him slug 23 homers in 373 at-bats for the White Sox in ’07. Even then, though, he hit just .244/.308/.480. He has enough power to be valuable in deep AL formats, but he will likely do a lot of damage in batting average and he doesn’t get on base enough to help in runs. Fields made 17 appearances at first base in ’09 so he should be eligible there, as well as at the hot corner. Don’t expect him to see much playing time if Alex Gordon can turn things around.
The White Sox organization parts ways with Getz after handing the rookie the starting second base job in ’09. The 26-year-old infielder missed time with injuries but he hit .261/.324/.347 in 375 at-bats and stole 25 bases in 27 attempts. His speed makes him an interesting fantasy player, as he should improve offensively in ’10, although the lineup around him could be weaker. Getz isn’t going to drive in runs so he needs to improve his walk rate (7.4%) so he can throw up a better runs-scored total. He was overpowered by good fastballs in ’09, but hopefully that was caused – at least somewhat – by the broken finger and oblique injuries (His slugging percentage plummeted in the last two months of the season). Because of his speed, Getz is potentially a better fantasy option at second base than Royals incumbent Alberto Callaspo, who probably won’t drive in 70+ runs again and his power output exceeded expectations based on his minor-league numbers. Monitor the race in spring training, though, to see if Getz will earn enough playing time to be of value.