What’s a new baseball season without a Mark Teahen position switch? This time, as Sam Mellinger reports, Teahen will get a look at second base. Moving around the diamond is nothing new for Teahen, who broke into the majors as a third baseman and since has spent time at first base and each of the outfield positions.
On the surface, moving Teahen from the outfield to second makes some sense. The Royals have a cluster in the outfield with David DeJesus, Coco Crisp, and Jose Guillen, and with Guillen’s contract forcing him into the lineup, leaving little playing time for Teahen. Of course, at second the Royals have a bit of a jam as well: they only acquired Albert Collaspo last season and don’t forget about Willie Bloomquist.
Dave has beat the third and second base comparisons into our heads, so I won’t rehash his arguments, but instead question whether Teahen has any hope of being a decent second baseman. Teahen’s hot corner experience was a mixed bag; in 2005, his UZR was an atrocious -17.6, that number rebounded to a passable 0.3 in 2006, and after taking a year off from third, Teahen returned for 166 innings last season and had a UZR of -2.7. CHONE calls him a -11 fielder and The Fielding Bible has Teahen worth -24 runs between 2005 and 2007.
It’s safe to say that Teahen is an awful fielder a third. That provides little hope for a successful translation to second, at least defensively. CHONE has Teahen at 5.6 runs above average offensively and Marcels has him at 1 below. If Teahen is a league average hitter his bat will play up at second, meaning his value comes down to how well (or unwell) his glove translates to second.
This is the first sign of “innovative” thinking the Royals have shown this off-season, but frankly, the chances of success aren’t too high.