With the signing of new third basemen Miguel Tejada, it seems the Baltimore Orioles have come full circle. Tejada was traded in 2007 to Houston for Luke Scott and a host of minor league pitchers because Orioles General Manager Andy MacPhail knew the club needed to rebuild if it had any chance of competing in the American League East division.
It was thought that Tejada was a malcontent who burned bridges towards the end of his tenure in Baltimore. That's why his signing more than two years later to be the new third basemen is an intriguing look into how people misconstrue situations. Quite frankly, Tejada was tired of losing in Baltimore, and it wore on him to the point that he seemed done. In Houston, however, he went to two straight all-star games as a shortstop, and had 199 hits in 2009. Tejada seems far from done. In fact, he seems ready to do what he set out to do in Baltimore when he first signed here in 2003: win.
Tejada is no longer the 30 homer threat he was when he got to Baltimore in 2003. Nor is he the MVP threat or the stellar defensive shortstop. Tejada hit .313 in 2009 for the Houston Astros with a .340 OBP. Tejada is a professional hitter, and can hit to all fields. Even though he doesn't hit many home runs, Tejada still is a doubles machine accounting for 46 in 2009.
Tejada is going to move to third base to finish out his career. This is a move I believe can work because of his athleticism, instincts for the game, strong arm, and strong work ethic. Tejada will undoubtedly spend the whole of spring training taking ground balls, and learning the new position. He is by all accounts a stickler for honing his craft, and these kinds of guys usually thrive at pro level.
I see this as a win-win move for the Orioles. It is a one year deal for a guy who has been here before, has shown he will play everyday, and a guy who is still very productive. Tejada is not the same player he was the first time around, but he is still going to bring his intangibles to the clubhouse. Tejada is seen as a stepping-block at third before top prospect Josh Bell makes his way to the Orioles, but if Bell is ready by mid-summer, I can see the Orioles bringing him up and moving Tejada to the DH role. I'm very excited to see how Miguel does with the Orioles this season. I can see him giving the club between 180-200 hits, 40 doubles, 10-15 home runs, and depending on where he bats, close to 80 or 90 rbi's. Kudos to MacPhail for not being the type of guy who closes doors on past players. I can see this move working out very well for the Orioles.
Tomorrow's player Preview:
SS Cesar Izturis