It didn’t take long for the Royals to surface in baseball’s offseason trade rumors.
Merely hours after the New York Yankees secured their 27th World Series title, a report claimed the Royals have agreed to send outfielder Mark Teahen to the Chicago White Sox for second baseman Chris Getz and third baseman/outfielder Josh Fields.
The report first appeared in the New York Daily News and gained steam when the Chicago Sun-Times cited confirmation from the White Sox. It now appears those reports, at best, are premature.
“We’re in discussions with a lot of clubs about a lot of things,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “There is nothing to announce yet, and we won’t comment (about trade rumors) until there is something to announce.”
There has been no official confirmation from the White Sox.
Teahen and Getz each said they have heard nothing about a trade, while Fields could not be reached for comment. Teahen even tweeted: “No official word. Still sporting Royal blue ”
That also suggests no deal is close because players are often required to undergo physical examinations before a trade’s completion. That would seem particularly true in this case because Getz is recovering from Oct. 2 surgery to correct a sports hernia that limited his time over the final two months.
All indications suggest the two clubs discussed a deal, but club officials acknowledge transactions become harder to complete when leaked prematurely to the public.
Even so, this trade seems to offer something to both sides.
In Teahen, the White Sox gain a replacement for aging right fielder Jermaine Dye, a pending free agent, and an alternative at third base if the club chooses to move rookie Gordon Beckham to second base.
Teahen, 28, batted .271 last season with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 144 games while playing first base, second base and third base in addition to right field. He spent most of the two previous seasons in right field.
The White Sox are better positioned than the Royals to absorb Teahen’s salary, which figures to reach $5 million or more next season through arbitration, because of Dye’s departure. Dye made $11.5 million in 2009.
The Royals would gain about $4 million in financial flexibility because neither Getz nor Fields, both 26, is yet eligible for arbitration. Fields made $410,000 last season, while Getz made $401,000.
How each would fit into the Royals’ current roster is another question.
Getz is a left-handed hitter who batted .261 with a .324 on-base percentage in 107 games before suffering a sports hernia in mid-August. He had just two homers and 31 RBIs but stole 25 bases in 27 attempts.
The problem is Getz is primarily a second baseman, a position currently filled by Alberto Callaspo, who was one of the Royals’ better offensive performers in 2009. Merely discussing a Getz acquisition suggests a willingness to trade Callaspo.
Fields hit 23 homers as a rookie in 2007 but spent most of 2008 in the minors when oft-injured Joe Crede reclaimed his job at third base. Fields began last season as Chicago’s third baseman before poor performance prompted the club to promote Beckham.
It’s hard to see the Royals employing Fields as an outfielder in spacious Kauffman Stadium, and he appears blocked by Alex Gordon at third base and Billy Butler at first base.
That leaves designated hitter, but Fields batted just .222 last season in 79 games with seven homers and 30 RBIs.