Scouting the Market: Mark Teahen

Barry Larkin elected to Hall of Fame
Kepner & Curry on Jorge Posada

Unless they make a move for a pitcher in the next month and change, the Yankees are pretty much done assembling their 2012 team. In terms of position players they’re pretty set. You can already pencil in the nine starters, and three of the four bench slots are already filled. That last bench spot is pretty much a toss-up. With Andruw Jones and Eduardo Nunez, the Yankees already have backups for every position. That last player can come from nearly anywhere, and can play nearly any role.

Hiroyuki Nakajima might have filled that spot, but he’s headed back to Japan for one more season. Eric Chavez seems like the frontrunner for it now, but his fragility works against him heavily, since part of his job would be subbing for the unreliable Alex Rodriguez. There are some other internal options, such as Justin Maxwell and Chris Dickerson, but the Yankees might want someone who plays the infield. Better yet, someone who can play the corners in both the infield and outfield. As it happens, someone who fits that description just became available.

The Blue Jays designated Mark Teahen for assignment this morning, after he came to the plate just 47 times for them. Really, Teahen had no part in the Jays’ plans; they only took on him, and his salary, to make the Edwin Jackson acquisition easier. With a full roster and nowhere to put Teahen, a DFA was almost inevitable. No one’s going to claim him and his $5.5 million salary, but the Yanks might have interest should he clear waivers and reach free agency. Here’s the breakdown.


  • He’s versatile. While he has limited experience at first base and left field, he has plenty at third base and right field. That gives the Yankees a backup to A-Rod who can also sub in the outfield if need be.
  • He’s left-handed. The three current bench players — Andruw Jones, Eduardo Nunez, and Francisco Cervelli — all hit right-handed. The Yankees also got a bit more right-handed in general by swapping Jesus Montero for Jorge Posada. They’d probably prefer a lefty for that last bench spot.
  • He can take a walk: 8.2 percent career walk rate, and it’s been at or above 9 percent in each of the last two seasons.
  • He’s relatively healthy. An oblique injury kept him out for a bit in 2011, but otherwise he’s been pretty healthy. His most significant injury has been a fractured middle finger, suffered in 2010, but that’s more of a freak thing. His shoulder, surgically repaired in 2006, hasn’t been an issue since.


  • He’s not that good with the bat. After a very good 2006 season, at age 24, it appeared that Teahen — who was part of the A’s Moneyball draft — might be coming around. He’s been a complete disappointment, though, producing below average offensive numbers every year since. Last year was a low point: 52 wRC+.
  • He plays terrible defense. While defensive metrics can portray players inaccurately, it’s tough to argue when they all agree. All major defensive stats rate him as a patently horrible third baseman, and a barely passable outfielder.
  • He’s not even that good on the platoon split. He has a career .322 wOBA, .328 against righties. If he’s going to be a generally mediocre player, he might as well at least mash righties. Alas.

That cons list might contain only three items, but they’re three pretty damning ones. Teahen might be worth a sniff on a minor league deal, but his name value could fetch him a major league contract. The Jays might even trade him during the DFA period. If he’s not worth signing to a major league deal, he’s certainly not worth trading for living, breathing players.

In essence, Teahen’s value is mostly associated with his name recognition. If he were just some random John Smith with those numbers, he wouldn’t get a sniff — never mind the $5.5 million he’ll make this year. The Yanks might desire to add a left-handed bat to the bench, but Teahen shouldn’t be that guy. Even Eric Chavez, for defensive value if nothing else, would provide more value than Teahen.

Barry Larkin elected to Hall of Fame
Kepner & Curry on Jorge Posada
  • Robert

    I would rather have Pena .Younger ,switch hitter plays good D.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    I can be real shitty at all nine positions. Where’s my “scouting the market” column?

    Bring back Chavez.

    • ADam


  • Slugger27

    quick question: you kept referencing his name value in a seemingly positive way (as in, he has a big name). did you mean the opposite? i actually didn’t even realize teahen was still an active MLB player until this post, nor do i ever hear his name mentioned anywhere. until the last paragraph, i thought a minor league deal would be easily attained BECAUSE he was considered a nobody.

    • MattG

      He is somewhat famous. He’s started and been paid on multi-year deals, but he’s never been good enough for either. He is a very fortunate player, and there are hundreds like him whose names you really don’t know at all.

      • Slugger27

        i barely even know him, though. i didnt even realize he played on the CWS last year until i just looked it up. even then i see he has negative career WAR. i remember his name being a big prospect, but i mightve been in high school (it was a long time ago), and i havent heard of him being even remotely relevant since, nor did i realize he was still active.

        i was reading the article the whole time thinking “this guys a nobody, surely hes an easy sign for a minor league deal”, so thats why i was confused at the brand name label. ironically, i thought his name (or lack thereof) was a reason he COULD be had on a minor league deal. i guess ill trust mike though, just thought id mention it.

        • Slugger27

          ill trust joe^

          my apologies.

    • Ted Nelson

      I think the name value comes more from what could have been. He was a first rounder, a top 100 BA prospect in 2005, and put up a 122 RC+ in 2006. Part of the idea being that he might spring back to life in the right environment and become that again. Pretty unlikely, but he could at least bounce back from an awful 2011 to be decent-ish. 3B is kind of a down position right now.

  • CJ

    I like Chavez but he’s likely to be on the DL and not the bench when you need him like last year.

    • Slugger27

      so wait, do you like him or not?

      • Craig Maduro

        I’d guess that he likes him, but is also aware that the Yankees are eventually going to find themselves in the same spot as they are now in terms of finding LH bat that can handle the corners.

        • Slugger27

          knowing his “poke at the hornets nest” commenting style, my guess is that he likes chavez if the yanks dont sign him, and if they do, hes a old and injury prone and the yanks shouldve gone after someone else.

          a lot of the trolls on this site are actually friends of mine, but i dont know cj. just my prediction that he’ll take the opposite side the yankees take.

          • CJ

            Not a troll, genuine Yankees fan, sometimes pessimistic.
            I like chavez but concerned about the health and ability of both ARod and
            Chavez to take the field. Nunez will end up playing for any length of time. I like Nunez more than most on RAB, he can still improve.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    With your analysis of his cons it is hard to sign a guy like this even to occupy a minor league spot that could be used for a younger player.

  • Robert

    What about Fernando Martinez? Just was waived by Mets.

    • Favrest

      I think he’s injury prone, but hey, if these guys want to try out, I’m game.

  • MattG

    I believe this is true, and someone who knows how might look it up, Teahen is (used to be?) a great baserunner, despite no speed. Yippee for that.

    Actually, truthfully I enjoy that. It’s always fun to find unique talents were no skill can be discerned.

    Teahen was a useful bench piece a few years ago. Those days are over.

  • MP

    “He’s not that good with the bat.”
    “He plays terrible defense.”

    Other than that…

    • TogaSean

      lol, that gave me a good laugh.

    • Slugger27

      how’s his baserunning?

      • Jesse

        What about intangibles? Does he have what it takes to become a True Yankee™?

  • Brad V

    He can’t hit, he can’t field, but he’s relatively healthy?

    I’m sold!!

    • Steve (different one)

      The food is terrible, and such small portions!

    • vin

      Me and Mark Teahen have something in common. Cool.

  • Rainbow Connection

    What the hell is a tea hen?

    • Yank The Frank

      It’s an English thing. Instead of tea with bisquits you have tea with poultry.

    • Slugger27

      my question is, who has sex with a tea hen?

    • Genghis

      It’s a typical Cantonese dish.

  • Mike R.

    Teahen of the negative WAR fame? Sign me up!

  • Craig Maduro

    Plenty of Teahen bashing right now and deservedly so. To be fair though, we’re talking about a bench role and in an ideal world he wouldn’t have to play that much. Isn’t having a bench guy who’s only bad (as opposed to atrocious) a decent asset?

    I’m not advocating signing him, but just trying to throw out a different angle.

    • Steve (different one)

      Yes, for $500k or whatever, having Teahen as the 25th guy on your roster wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

    • Slugger27

      well, as he’s below replacement level, i dont view him as an asset, since he’s theoretically worse than a random AAA player that could take his job.

      us yankees fans are spoiled! we want minimum .5 WAR players on the bench.

      • Craig Maduro

        I hear you there. Having a LH bat might be nice, but perhaps it would be a better idea to just let Brandon Laird get those at-bats.

    • CMP

      Guys like this belong on the Mets, Royals and Pirates, not the Yankees.

  • Slugger27

    do you mean sign teahen up (sarcastically obviously) or to literally sign you, mike r, up? if youll accept a ST invite with no promises, id be fine with the yanks taking a look at you

  • Favrest

    If he wants to come to Spring Training, I’m cool with that, but I’m not signing a .202 hitter.
    The Yanks won’t. I’m not happy w Pena’s development. He’s here for his defense, and his defense is inconsistent.

    • Slugger27

      nice URL…

    • kenthadley

      Yeah, the last .202 hitting third baseman the Yanks obtained was Scott Brosius.

  • cranky

    Betemit would be Better.

    • Plank

      Why stop there? Why not Aramis Ramirez? Why not Evan Longoria?

  • Genghis

    He can’t hit, and he can’t field, but his name consists of two short nouns. I’m sold.

  • LiterallyFigurative

    If he can’t hit, field or steal bases…what’s the point?

    Let Laird/Chavez be A-rod’s backup. The left-handed bat thing isn’t a big deal, because it’s not like Chavez will be pinch hitting for any of the 9 regulars.