Well, no...of course not.
But can he be the left-handed bat the White Sox settle for? In the words of Hawk Harrelson after three John Daly's (iced tea + lemonade + vodka), "Hell yes!"
I've never been big on the Teacup, The Tea Party, Tea(r)drop....sigh,
nicknames are hard. But what I am is exceedingly cynical, as well as
totally on board with the 'not axing the farm system for aging sluggers
who strike out a lot' approach that Kenny Williams gave lip service to
the other day and will probably abandon sometime in the next week and a
half. Totally on board.
In that spirit, the White Sox need to work with what they have, and what
they should have sometime in the next month or so (I can't be sure, he
hasn't put up any pictures of his finger on Twitter since the 15th when
his cast came off) is 28 year-old Mark Teahen. A Mark Teahen
theoretically still in his physical prime. Theories can be a whole lot
Up until a few weeks ago, Teahen's imminent return was just one of
several stupid problems White Sox fans and neurotic bloggers spent their
days worrying about. Ruining countless work meetings, and family
outings with concerns over Teahen's poor defense, his inability to hit
left-handers to even the slightest degree, and his unwillingness to bend
But now, Omar Vizquel has gone and solved a lot of our
problems. In addition to drinking from the fountain of regained
bat-speed, and riding a hot streak (.341 BA this month) all the way to
an average over .270 and an OBP at almost .340 (Juan Pierre, eat your
heart out), Omar has played damn decent defense at 3rd base (I don't
care what the UZR is!). So decent he almost justifies his presence on
the field without his improved bat, and has really been a crucial part
of the whole transformation from "bad pitching team doomed by worse
defense" to "good pitching team emboldened by great defense". He's like
Joe Crede with a younger back. Also he's apparently taught Alexei
Ramirez everything he knows, which is starting to become a lot.
Omar has been good enough that Ozzie has gone so far to give a sort of
blase commitment to keeping him there, and moving Teahen to spot starts
where possible (3B, 1B, RF, DH!!!)
Per Scott Merkin:
Ozzie Guillen said on Wednesday that he plans to play Vizquel "until the
day he dies and can't play anymore." That plan also would leave Teahen
back in a super-utility role when he returns from rehab on the fractured
right middle finger.
"I'm going to play him all over the place because I think Omar is playing pretty good," said Guillen of Teahen.
So beyond the basic assumption that Teahen will give spot starts to
rest Vizquel at 3rd, where can he contribute? Well, he'll be thrown
right into the terrible-fielding, occasionally-hitting rotation with
Carlos Quentin, Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, and Dayan Viciedo, as they
all get cycled between RF, DH, and spot starts at 1B. I've clearly gone
on the record saying that Quentin should DH, but I don't think he'll be moved from right, so why pretend that he will be?
As for DH, it's been Kotsay (non-existently crappy against lefties,
half-decent vs. righties), Viciedo (used almost never, but killer vs.
lefties, and mediocre vs. righties), and Andruw Jones (swan-diving
versus both). Mark Teahen (.820 OPS vs. righties) could finally bring
some genuine potency against right-handers to the moribund DH rotation,
which would also solve the problem of "Holy hell, how do we hide Mark on
defense?!!?" For the best-results, Teahen should be paired in a
righty-lefty platoon with Viciedo, but that not only would the rook
taking all the playing time from Kotsay and Jones never happen, but it's
also a horrible use of Dayan, who needs to go back to the minors until
he figures out how to take a walk.
Maybe a guy who has cracked a home run once every 45 at bats this season
isn't exactly the impact player the White Sox were looking to add to
the lineup, but with the DH position essentially a non-entity this
season, Mark's ability to hit righties with a decent amount of pop, and the fact that he's at an age where his performance can at least be expected to be maintained rather than continue to depreciate, Teahen might not be the greatest addition to the lineup, but he will be an addition. Mark was red-hot when he went down, and while it's going to take a lot to get him back to full-speed again, you can't underrate how much help it will be to replace worthlessness with a perfectly average MLB player.
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