Death From Above: Mark Teahen

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally officially announced the signing of left handed reliever Darren Oliver, who becomes the most expensive free agent signing of the Alex Anthopoulos era with a one year deal for a guaranteed $4.5 million, including a $500,000 buyout if a club option for $3 million in 2013 isn’t picked up. In so doing, the team had to make room on its 40-man roster, and elected Mark Teahen to be sacrificed for the cause.

The Blue Jays now have seven days to place Teahen on waivers, or ten days to trade or release him. With a salary of $5.5 million due to him in 2012, it’s most likely that Teahen will eventually be released with the team eating his salary.

Toronto acquired Teahen as part of the trade with the White Sox that eventually netted them Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals. At the time, it was largely seen as a salary dump by Chicago and something that the Blue Jays had to take on to complete the deal.

In seven Major League seasons, Teahen has been judged to be below replacement level in five by FanGraphs. His two successful seasons, 2006 and 2007, were the result of career high on base percentages mainly buoyed by an unsustainable batting average from balls in play.

Looking back over his career to date, the most surprising thing isn’t that he’d be designated for assignment by the Blue Jays, but rather that the Chicago White Sox would have signed him to a three year $14 million extension after the 2009 season, his second of four straight below replacement years.