I recently read where Mark Teahen was focused on reclaiming the starting third baseman’s job in Spring Training this season, and I thought to myself 2 things…First, with all that went on from his arrival in a controversial trade with Kansas City in the offseason immediately following the 2009 season, to date…I thought: good luck with that, Mark. The fans have clearly never fully embraced this guy, from questioning his abilities as an everyday player, to questioning the quick announcement that Kenny Williams had anointed him the new starting 3B, forcing another position change for (then) “golden boy” Gordon Beckham, to questioning the contract extension that he was awarded…all of this before he even laced up the cleats for his new team for Game #1 as a member of the Chicago White Sox franchise…then, after his terrible start to the season with both bat and glove, he suffered an injury that cost him a couple of months just when he was starting to show real signs of why he was targeted in trade as an offensive asset. Forget the notion that many fans attributed his injury and absence from the lineup to the team’s sudden rise from the ashes of a disappointing April/May that became a white-hot team that seemingly couldn’t lose…I hate to burst that bubble, but it was a combination of so many things that made the White Sox begin playing better as a team, namely a starting pitching staff that finally showed up to perform as advertised before the season began. To this day that ludicrous idea remains an unfair chapter in the brief tenure of Mr. Teahen, but who ever said fans were fair?
The second thought that I had, was that: I hope he does. As much as I love the idea of a youngster like Brent Morel winning the job out of Spring Training (with comparisons as “the next Robin Ventura” or “the next Joe Crede” already beginning), I can’t help but wonder IF the White Sox would/could be an even more potent offensive lineup WITH Mark Teahen’s proven, left-handed bat in the daily lineup??? What we can basically count on from Mark Teahen with the bat, is .270 12 & 60. Not bad, and with the power improvement from the addition of Adam Dunn, coupled with the return of Paul Konerko, and the potential of Carlos Quentin…being able to count on the average career numbers from Mark Teahen would be a real bonus in my eyes. IF he wins the job, it will mean a significant defensive improvement from his poor showing of early last season. We have seen the defensive slickness of Morel already( in albeit a small sample of September games), but the potential ability to hold down the “hot corner” is clearly there. What we do not know is if this Rookie can hit his way out of the proverbial paper sack…If Brent Morel were to post Mark Teahen’s career average numbers in his first season, we would be clamoring for Rookie of the Year consideration, just as we did when Gordon Beckham posted similar stats…but that’s a reach today…just as big of a reach as Mark Teahen being able to improve enough defensively to NOT be the liability he was last season. It should be interesting to watch play out, that’s for sure. And always nice to have options.
Best of luck, Mark Teahen…you aren’t my first choice, but I will still be rooting for you, because IF you succeed in your mission, it will be a sign of very good things to come for our 2011 season…and oh by the way, prove a whole bunch of people WRONG about you. For me, I’d trade being wrong every day of the week, if it means more wins, and a chance to return to the postseason!