Miguel Tejada Rumors

Giants Notes: Jeter, Fontenot, Uribe, Tejada

The Giants have agreed to a deal with Miguel Tejada and may still be pursuing a deal for Jason Bartlett. Here's the latest on GM Brian Sabean's search for infielders:

  • The Giants contacted Derek Jeter's agent, according to the Wall Street Journal, but Brian Sabean explained to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that team's discussions with Casey Close revolved around another client, Mike Fontenot. (Twitter link). Fontenot, a non-tender candidate, would earn over $1MM next winter if the Giants tender him a contract. 
  • Before the Dodgers signed former Giant Juan Uribe, San Francisco offered the infielder a three-year deal worth $20MM, according to Schulman (on Twitter). That's $1MM less than the Dodgers offered and $5MM less than Uribe was asking for.
  • The Giants weren't the only NL West team to lose an infielder to a division rival this week. The Padres spoke to Miguel Tejada's agent today, but weren't willing and/or able to match the Giants' $6.5MM offer, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter). 

Odds & Ends: Tigers, Orioles, Manny, Astros, Uribe

Happy birthday to two former All-Star catchers!  Future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez turns 39 today, while Angels manager Mike Scioscia turns 52.

Some news items...

Cardinals, Giants, Padres Interested In Tejada

The Cardinals, Giants and Padres are expressing varying degrees of interest in Miguel Tejada, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes (link in Spanish). Some teams see Tejada as a shortstop and others see him as a third baseman, according to Rojas' source.

The 36-year-old played 58 games at short for the Padres after they acquired him from Baltimore, where he was playing third base. The Giants are focused on finding a shortstop and the Cardinals could use middle infield help.

Tejada could have earned a raise from his 2010 salary of $6MM had the Padres offered arbitration. The Padres did not offer arbitration, so teams will not have to surrender a pick to sign Tejada, a Type A free agent.

The six-time All-Star batted .269/.312/.381 with 15 homers between Baltimore and San Diego last year. He appeared in over 150 games for the 11th time in 12 seasons.

National League Free Agent Arbitration Offers

11 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make, and we'll group them in this post.  For a fantastic customizable chart with all 65 Type A/B free agents and their decisions in real-time, click here.

Latin Links: Tejada, Uribe, Feliz, Cuban Players

Links from Spanish-language news sources...

  • Sources close to Miguel Tejada and Juan Uribe said the infielders will wait and see what kind of contract Derek Jeter signs before committing to anything on their own, according to ESPN Deportes' Enrique Rojas. Neither player is aspiring to Jeter-like money, Rojas writes, but they think Jeter will "establish the market value of veteran shortstops" and give their own respective values a boost. The Cardinals are supposedly interested in both players.
  • Neftali Feliz told Jose Caceres of Hoy he's heard rumors about the Rangers planning to move him to the rotation, but on the team's end, "Nobody has said anything to me." SI's Jon Heyman tweeted earlier today that the team would consider the move if they can't sign Cliff Lee.
  • Victor Mesa, a former Cuban National Team manager and one of the all-time greats of Cuban baseball, told the official government newspaper Trabajadores that the time has finally come for those in power to allow Cuban players to sign with foreign teams, conveys Diario de Cuba. "I think there could be incorporation [into foreign teams], so that they could spend eight years playing in our National Series and [sign] with our involvement, not independently," Mesa said. The most recent prominent player to flee the country is a speedy teenaged outfielder in the mold of Mesa himself: 17-year-old centerfielder Yasiel Balaguer, who arrived in Nicaragua a few days ago.

Cardinals Rumors: Pujols, Uribe, Tejada

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak would like to begin talks on an Albert Pujols extension "between now and the Christmas holiday," he told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Strauss has a source who believes Pujols "is unlikely to revisit the matter once the 2011 season opens."  At the least, Pujols figures to sign the third-largest contract in baseball history whether this winter or as a free agent after the '11 season.

Regarding infield upgrades, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that "we probably have more of an emphasis on short than second at this point."  They'd also like a utility infielder to back up David Freese at third base.  Unless Dan Uggla fits into the picture somewhere, free agents Juan Uribe and Miguel Tejada are on the Cardinals' radar according to Strauss.  Though they also have an eye on recently-posted infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Mozeliak "indicated the timing may not be right for the club to make such a heavy commitment for a Pacific Rim player."    

It's becoming more and more clear the Cardinals won't be moving Colby Rasmus; today Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports quoted a source who sees a 99% chance of the center fielder staying put.  Indeed, Mozeliak told Strauss Sunday that Rasmus is "almost impossible to replace."

One note you may have missed from yesterday: the team is growing more optimistic about signing Jake Westbrook, according to Rosenthal.

Latin Links: Beltre, Renteria, V-Mart, Balentien

Links from Spanish-language news sources, highlighted by a rumor-packed tweet from un hombre de Bristol (links in Spanish).

  • Enrique Rojas at ESPN Deportes says the A's are working hard to sign yet another third baseman. Only this time, it's Adrian Beltre, who reportedly turned down a three-year, $24MM offer from the team last winter.
  • In the same tweet, Rojas says the Dodgers are interested in Edgar Renteria and his willingness to play second base, notes that there is a "good market" for Miguel Tejada, and revives an old rumor with a question: "Vic-Mart with the Rays?"
  • According to Jorge Ebro at El Nuevo Herald, 17-year old Cuban centerfielder Yasiel Balaguer has defected to Nicaragua with hopes of signing with a Major League team. Ebro cites reports saying Balaguer's big draws are his explosive speed and throwing arm, though he has shown some offensive power as well in the Cuban National Series.
  • Former Mariner and Red Wladimir Balentien has told his usual Venezuelan Winter League team, the Leones de Caracas, that he can't play this winter because he has signed with a team in Japan, reports Cesar Augusto Marquez at Lider en Deportes. Marquez doesn't say which team Balentien has joined.

Padres Notes: Gonzalez, Bell, Tejada, Coaches

Earlier tonight we learned that the Padres will not pick up Chris Young's $8.5MM option for 2011 and that GM Jed Hoyer will meet with Adrian Gonzalez's agent in the coming weeks, but MLB.com's Corey Brock brings us some more rumors. Let's dive in...

  • Hoyer confirmed that the team will exercise Gonzalez's $6.2MM option for next season when the time comes. There was never a doubt about this one. He also mentioned that they will listen to trade offers for their star player during the winter.
  • They will also listen to offers for closer Heath Bell, who figures to earn a nice raise after pulling down $4MM in 2010. "I haven't made any definitive decisions, but we are a better team with [Gonzalez and Bell] than without them," Hoyer said. "I'm sort of in the never-say-never category. In this business, the job is to make the team and the organization as good as it can be."
  • Hoyer indicated that he would be open to bringing Miguel Tejada back, but not at the $6MM salary he earned in 2010. The 36-year-old hit .268/.317/.413 with eight homers in 253 plate appearances after being acquired at the deadline, and he even moved back to his natural position of shortstop for all but four games.
  • Bench coach Ted Simmons will not return next season as he looks for a managerial job. First base coach Rick Renteria could replace him, but he is expected to interview for some manager jobs himself. Hitting coach Randy Ready is in the same boat as Renteria.

Padres Acquire Miguel Tejada

The Padres were supposed to be trading Adrian Gonzalez right about now. Instead, they traded for someone to hit behind him. The Padres and Orioles agreed to a deal that will send Miguel Tejada and cash to San Diego for minor league pitcher Wynn Pelzer.

Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, is no longer an elite hitter. In fact, he's hitting just .269/.308/.362 this season. His defense has also been below-average in recent years, according to UZR, though he can play third or shot.

Tejada makes $6MM this year and the Padres and Orioles will split the $2.2MM remaining on his contract. He projects as a Type B free agent, though an offer of arbitration seems unlikely.

Baseball America ranked Pelzer seventh among all Padres prospects before the season. The 24-year-old is a power pitcher whose fastball sits in the mid-90s. As a starter, he has a 4.20 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in AA this year, but BA said he could become a closer in time.

The Cardinals and Phillies also showed interest in Tejada this month.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun first reported that a deal seemed likely and added detail later on. MLB.com's Corey Brock and Dan Hayes of the North County Times also contributed elements of the story. The Orioles and Padres have confirmed the deal.

Phillies, Padres Eyeing Tejada, Bloomquist

The Padres' chief infield target is Miguel Tejada, reports CBS' Scott Miller.  They're facing competition from the Phillies, who are also said to be after the Orioles infielder.  Last we heard, the Cardinals inquired but didn't get anywhere.

The Padres and Phillies share another target in the Royals' Willie Bloomquist, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Crasnick says the Angels and Yankees have also kicked the tires on the 32-year-old utility man.  Bloomquist is still owed $619K plus performance bonuses.

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