I had received a few tips from readers about Miguel Tejada possibly being traded. I didn’t print anything because I couldn’t substantiate them. Turns out those readers were on target; today Tejada said, "I think the best thing will be a change of scenery." You can bet Tejada’s proclamation will get the hot stove buzzing once again.
It’s a strange thing for Tejada to say, given that the Orioles have several months left to improve their team. He said that the Orioles "have not made any signings to strengthen the club." If I were Ramon Hernandez, I’d be slightly offended by that remark. And to think the two were teammates for so many years.
Anyway, let’s begin with Tejada’s contract. He’ll make $10MM in ’06, $12MM in ’07, $13MM in ’08, and $13MM in ’09. That’s $48MM over four years. He’d certainly snag more than that on the open market. Tejada isn’t even 30 yet, and you know all about his offensive accolades and durability. One mild sign of a possible decline is that Tejada slugged only .416 after the All-Star break in ’05, hitting seven home runs. Still, that’s only 300 ABs and he may have felt uninspired.
Here’s what we’re all wondering: where might Tejada end up?
Boston Red Sox. Of course, they have a huge need for a shortstop and plenty of cash. There’s even an article circulating saying that Tejada might want to play for the Red Sox. The Sox could offer up Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia for starters. The one little problem is that the Orioles still consider themselves competitive, and would probably be reluctant to trade within the division. Back when the Red Sox dealt Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Orioles for Mike Boddicker, the O’s were completely out of the race.
Chicago Cubs. I’m thinking that if Jim Hendry removes Felix Pie from the "untouchables" list, the Orioles would seriously consider shipping Tejada their way. If the Cubs included Ronny Cedeno to take Tejada’s vacant spot, a deal could get done quickly. (This is all speculation, of course).
New York Mets. The Mets seem willing to give Jose Reyes all the time he needs to develop into a leadoff threat at shortstop. But Omar’s been mortgaging the future this winter like it’s going out of style, so you think he’d at least inquire. The Orioles’ response would probably include the words "Lastings" and "Milledge."
Toronto Blue Jays. If the Orioles do decide to deal within the AL East, the Blue Jays could get involved. Russ Adams is OK, but Ricciardi might have interest anyway.
Houston Astros. If ownership doesn’t mind the commitment, the ’Stros might try to allocate some of that now-available Clemens cash for a marquee shortstop. Not sure if they’ve got the prospects to cut it, though.
What do you think? Any teams I’ve left out? What players would it take to get a deal done?
Thanks to Tom and Dennis