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White Sox finalize deal for Teahen

White Sox finalize deal for Teahen

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tuesday's announcement of Mark Teahen's new three-year, $14 million contract, thus avoiding arbitration, immediately makes him a true fixture in the White Sox infield.

With that new deal in hand, it didn't take long for Teahen to start towing the company line where Ken Williams' offseason maneuvers were concerned. This exact response from Teahen came when he was asked during a conference call whether he pays attention to the moves being made by his new boss.

"Yeah, I do follow that quite a bit," Teahen said. "I stay in touch with what our team is looking for or trying to pick up."

And then, Teahen began to briefly channel Williams.

"I agree with certain things that I've read in that the offseason is not the only time you can make yourself better," Teahen said. "I'm excited with the moves the White Sox have made, which includes bringing me over. Any piece you can add at the Winter Meetings is great."

Buying out two years of Teahen's arbitration years and his first season as a free agent gives the White Sox a bit more cost certainty. That could present the South Siders a greater chance to add on a player presently, which wasn't potentially there previously, as acknowledged by Williams during his Tuesday meeting with the media.

Teahen, 28, who was acquired by the White Sox from Kansas City on Nov. 6 in exchange for infielders Chris Getz and Josh Fields and was eligible to become a free agent following the 2011 season, will earn $3.75 million in 2010, $4.75 million in 2011 and $5.5 million in 2012.

During the 2009 season for the Royals, Teahen hit .271 with a career-high 34 doubles, adding 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 144 games.

That total included 99 starts at third base, 31 in right field and three at second. At this point, there looks to be no uncertainty about Teahen's move to the White Sox hot corner.

"He's good. We like him. He can play the position," said Williams of Teahen. "This was again someone that we targeted and felt that Mark would fit into our overall equation.

"It was never meant as a quick fix or short term sort of thing. Now we have a little stability all around the infield. We believe he's going to produce and produce in a greater way than he ever has and have more fun than ever."

In listening to Teahen's comments Tuesday, there's no question he's ready to move to an American League Central contender from a Kansas City team which won more than 70 games just once during his five seasons played in Missouri.

"You play the game to play in the playoffs, and every year I tried to convince myself we made enough moves to be competitive," said Teahen of his time with the Royals. "You were hoping every piece fell into place there or some player would turn into the guy you hoped he would turn into.

"A nice thing with Chicago is that for the first time with the team we have in place, guys don't have to overachieve or come into their own for the team to be successful. At the same time, the White Sox have the ability to fill a hole if one comes up. But I'm really looking forward to playing with the guys on board."

After missing 13 games due to lower back spasms last year, Teahen mentioned he's going through physical therapy as maintenance for that problem area. He feels good and will get back to baseball activity after the first of the year.

Tuesday's announcement leaves the White Sox with five arbitration-eligible players in Bobby Jenks, D.J. Carrasco, Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Tony Pena. They also have approximately $80 million earmarked for 15 players, and the White Sox are glad to have Teahen as one of those 15.

"The city of Chicago should get used to him," said Williams.

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

{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }