When news of the Miguel Tejada signing broke, duck posted a great piece in support of the signing. I don't share all of duck's opinions, but I was planning on letting well enough alone because how many times does one need to read about Miguel Tejada? But I was reading James Baker's piece on Oriole Post discussing FanFest and the Miguel Tejada signing and he mentioned what I said at the FanFest forum. Specifically, this is what he wrote:
The question was posed our forum and the panel seemed rather non-plussed about the whole affiar [sic]. Stacey from Camden Chat seemed downright against it. In her view every Miguel Tejada is "taking at bats away from Felix Pie, Michael Aubrey and Brandon Snyder." To her signing both Garrett Atkins and Miguel Tejada is "redundant". I didn't respond at the time because I didn't want to monopolize the forum with this issue but I really disagree with that assertion.
While only a handful of people (if that) remember what I said about Miguel Tejada at FanFest, now that it has been documented I want to expound.
First of all, one of the things I was most nervous about when participating in a live forum was that 1) I wouldn't be able to think on my toes, 2) I wouldn't be able to recall some needed info, and that 3) my brain wouldn't send the necessary words to my mouth at the right time (this is sometimes an issue for me).
The quotes that James attributed to me are correct (I don't remember saying Brandon Snyder, but the sentiment is the same regardless), however I was trying to fit a bunch of thoughts and feelings and ideas into a short time and it probably made it sound like I was 100% against it. That's not actually the case, although I'm honestly not thrilled. It's just that when I write something here I have the ability to take as much time as I need, triple check facts, and generally make sure that I'm sure of my feelings before I hit publish. Anyone who has noticed how long it takes me to publish a post game can attest to that.
Anyway, on to Tejada. A word that I used in addition to redundant was overkill because of the fact that Garrett Atkins is already on the team. If I were to pick between Atkins and Tejada I would pick Tejada, hands down. I wasn't too upset when they signed Atkins believing that he'd play third base either for the entire year or until Josh Bell was ready and that first base would be filled either by Luke Scott, one of the young(ish) players in our system, or through some other option that provides a better alternative to Garrett Atkins at 1B. So basically, if the Orioles could go back in time and NOT sign Garrett Atkins then I'd be just fine with Tejada re-joining the team.
I believe Miguel Tejada will hit in 2010 and I believe that he'll be a positive addition to the lineup. There is the question of his move to third base, but I'm not worried about that personally. He won't be Brooks over there but he is a good athlete. He'll pick it up. He'll most likely be worth the money he's being paid as $6M isn't a ton in baseball terms and he's been worth more than that every year.
It's not about the money, it's not about the production. It's about adding another older player to the mix who won't be there for the Orioles after 2010.
As I was quoted, every game played by Tejada and Atkins takes away at-bats from other players. Tejada will help the team win in 2010 but probably not in 2011. Atkins is a reclamation project who is a long shot to get better. He is 30 years old which isn't old, but still on the wrong side of the odds. It makes decent sense to sign Tejada as a productive stopgap or Atkins in the hopes he'll rebound; it doesn't make sense to sign both.
Michael Aubrey is a former first round draft pick who was plagued with injuries in the minors but who has shown defensive prowess and who put up a good showing in his limited time with the Orioles in 2009. Rhyne Hughes, obtained in the Gregg Zaun trade, has shown the potential for power in the minors. And if you just want someone to fill in at first in the meantime, Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott are already here.
I recognize that the Orioles needed to obtain an corner infielder for 2010. But in signing two, neither of which are really a part of the Orioles future, is doing just what I said at FanFest: it's taking at-bats away from young players who, while perhaps a long shot, might be a part of that future. We don't necessarily know what those guys will bring us. Miggi and Atkins? We pretty much know.
When the first pictures from Spring Training make their way to us and I see Miggi in an Orioles uniform I'm probably going to be excited. He is going to make the team better. And maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised with Garrett Atkins. Maybe he'll turn it around and hit 25 home runs and get his option picked up for 2011 and help the Orioles to their first playoff run in years. If that happens I will never be so happy to have been wrong.