When the Washington Nationals signed Mark Teahen to a minor league contract just prior to the start of Spring Training there wasn’t a great deal said about the move. It was strictly for depth as the possibilities were remote from the start that Teahen would break camp with the team. He didn’t and has spent the season with Triple-A Syracuse, but could become a free agent today if he so chooses.
According to information learned by the guys over at MLBTR, the minor league deal Teahen signed contained language that allows him to opt out of the deal today. It is unclear if he will exercise his right to do so, but the likelihood that he is called up by the Nationals seems minimal at best.
Through 64 games with the Chiefs, the 30 year old is batting .293/.350/.405 with a home run and 42 RBI over 257 plate appearances, the most trips to the plate he’s seen in the minors since 2004. The problem, however, is Teahen has not been able to hit Major League pitching over the past two seasons.
Since the start of the 2010 season, Teahen’s struggled to a .234/.305/.349 line over 439 plate appearances. He’s managed just 8 HR and 39 RBI in 155 games for the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. It’s a dramatic dropoff from the production he was able to provide earlier in his career, forcing Teahen to learn new positions across the diamond in an effort to earn more playing time with some defensive versatility – he’s seen time at both corner infield spots this season as well as the corner outfield ones. Yet even still, he couldn’t hit enough to warrant putting his name in the lineup and wound up being released before the end of the 2011 season.
Teahen was once viewed as one of the better prospects in the Kansas City Royals’ minor league system, ranking as high as #85 by Baseball America prior to the 2005 season. He was brought in as a depth option in the Spring considering the organization wasn’t certain what the likes of Mark DeRosa and Xavier Nady would end up providing. It’s questionable whether Teahen would provide more than either and it’s unlikely that he’d be a better option off the bench than Tyler Moore at this point.