Teahen inks one-year deal with Royals

Teahen inks one-year deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mark Teahen isn't sure where he'll be playing this year for the Royals, but at least he's got a contract.

Teahen on Sunday signed a one-year, $3.575-million deal for 2009, as the two sides avoided salary arbitration. The deal was slightly over the midpoint of the salaries filed.

He had sought $3.85 million, and the Royals offered $3.05 million. The halfway point was $3.45 million. He earned $2.3375 million last season.

"It's nice to settle that and not have to go through the whole hearing process," Teahen said from Arizona. "I think it's better for everybody -- nice to have that part of the deal out of the way and get down to baseball now."

Last year Teahen batted .255 with 15 home runs, 31 doubles and 59 RBIs in 149 games. He shifted between right field (84 starts) and left field (31) and also started games at third base (19) and first base (13).

His role this season has not been defined. In precamp workouts at Surprise, Ariz., he's been practicing at a new position, second base.

"I've been out here taking some ground balls at second base, trying to work on some stuff, trying to get comfortable at that," he said. "But I'm still mixing it in a little at third and at first to at least stay somewhat aware. I'm mainly just working at second base because that's the one spot I haven't played recently."

Manager Trey Hillman indicated the Royals would at least explore using Teahen at second base, because he seemingly has been eased out of the outfield with the addition of Coco Crisp between David DeJesus and Jose Guillen. Second could be up for grabs, because the two leading contenders, Alberto Callaspo and Willie Bloomquist, have not yet been everyday regulars in the Majors.

"I don't know if he [Hillman] has said it's a good possibility, but I guess it's a possibility," Teahen said. "So he told me to work at it, they'll look at it and see where we get with it."

Hot Stove
Teahen is starting to feel at ease around second base.

"A lot of the stuff I learned growing up or playing in college is coming back rather quickly," he said. "But it's always tough to fine-tune things, and clearly, when games start, a lot more comes up than you can really work on in practice."

Teahen has switched from third base to right field to left field in the previous two seasons.

"I'm keeping my outfield glove with me, too," he said.

He's scheduled to take a break from Royals' Spring Training on March 1 to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, which begins on March 7 with a game against Team USA.

"Initially, they planned on me playing third base, and Trey called up there and talked to [Canada manager] Ernie Whitt and asked if I could work on some second base," Teahen said.

His signing leaves the Royals with one pending arbitration case, first baseman Mike Jacobs.

Two other players who exchanged figures were signed previously: pitcher Zack Greinke to a four-year, $38-million contract and pitcher Brian Bannister to a one-year, $1.7375-million deal.

Five others who were eligible for arbitration also signed one-year contracts: catcher John Buck, $2.9 million; pitcher Jimmy Gobble, $1.35 million; pitcher Kyle Davies, $1.3 million; infielder Esteban German, $1.2 million; and pitcher Joel Peralta, $640,000.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.