Royals' GM mum on Teahen rumors
Cubs' interest in lefty hitter neither confirmed nor denied by Moore
KANSAS CITY -- Is Mark Teahen in the Chicago Cubs' sights?
That was the speculation on Tuesday after the Cubs took care of a high priority, re-signing right-handed starter Ryan Dempster with a four-year, $52 million deal.
Now the Cubs are turning their attention to a left-handed bat, which could include Teahen or David DeJesus. Both players, currently Royals outfielders, have reportedly raised the interest of the Cubs previously.
The Kansas City Star raised the Teahen issue, noting that he could be a low-cost alternative to Raul Ibanez, a free agent who might command a three-year deal around $30 million.
As is his custom, Royals general manager Dayton Moore would not comment on the Teahen report.
"It would be reckless and inappropriate for me to comment on any potential trade or potential free-agent acquisition," Moore said.
Contacted in Arizona, Teahen said that neither he nor his agent, Jeff Berry, was aware of any trade talks.
"I actually talked to Jeff a couple of times today, and he hadn't heard anything like that," Teahen said.
"I don't know if it's just left-over stuff from last year when there was a rumor that there was some interest from the Cubs for Matt Murton or some other hitter."
MLB.com learned from a source that no deal involving Teahen or DeJesus had been discussed by Moore and his Cubs counterpart, Jim Hendry -- at least not to this point.
Although the Cubs are trying to deal right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, the Royals almost certainly would not take on his remaining contract of three years and $38 million.
That could mean, the Star speculated, that the Cubs could offer the Royals center fielder Felix Pie, who batted .241 in 43 games. That would enable DeJesus to move from center field to left field permanently.
Because the Royals are looking for a middle infielder to pair with rookie standout Mike Aviles, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and second baseman Mike Fontenot were also mentioned. Fontenot batted .305 with nine homers and 40 RBIs in 119 games, and Cedeno batted .269 with two homers and 28 RBIs in 99 games.
Teahen, eligible for salary arbitration, is expected to earn $3.1 million to 3.25 million this year. DeJesus is already under contract for $3.6 million in 2009 and $4.7 million in 2010. Compared to Fukodome's deal, those figures would appeal to the Cubs, but they might look good to the Royals as well.
"David was our most consistent player in 2008 in his approach against left-handers and right-handers and Mark was very important to our team, and we feel like he will continue to get better," Moore said.
DeJesus hit .307 for the Royals this past season, collecting 73 RBIs and scoring 70 runs. He led the Majors with a .419 average with runners in scoring position.
Teahen's average slipped 30 points from its 2007 level -- to .255 -- but he still banged 15 homers and had 59 RBIs this past season. He has played left field, right field, third base and first base, so his versatility is valued.
Now the Cubs are in the market for a left-handed bat.
"And I swing left-handed," Teahen said with a chuckle.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.