The Orioles have reached an agreement with free agent Miguel Tejada on a one-year, $6 million deal, according to team sources, reuniting the club with the six-time All-Star who played in Baltimore from 2004 to 2007.
The deal is pending a physical, which is expected to take place over the next couple days.
I know many disagree with me, but I see this as a great move for the Orioles. Yes, Miggy's power is down. Yes, he's moving to a position he has consistently and vehemently fought against playing. Yes, he was a bit of a clubhouse cancer at the end of his first tenure in Baltimore.
But facts are facts. After a down 2008, a year in which he played under the aftermath of the Mitchell Report and in which it was discovered he was actually 2 years older than previously thought, Tejada fashioned a .313 BA in Houston in 2009, a 109 OPS+ and a .795 SLG. Oh yeah, and he was one hit shy of 200 for the season. He still hits into a ton of double plays. His OBP is less than 30 points higher than his BA. His strikeouts (48) more than double his walks (19).
But the man can still hit. And we don't need 2004 Miggy, hitting in the center of the lineup and mashing over the wall. We need a Miggy who can hit .300 and move runners by putting the ball in play, and not embarrass himself on the field. We don't need Miggy to be the best hitter on the team. Or the next best. Or even the third best.
We need Miggy (.313/.340 /.455 /.795/109 OPS+ in 2009) to be better than what our other options were. And those options were Ty Wigginton (.273/.314/.400/.714/87 OPS+), Joe Crede (.225/.289/.414/.703/83 OPS+) or Garrett Atkins (.226/.308/.342/.650/66 OPS+). I seriously doubt he will make enough errors to balance out the clear advantage he brings in offense.
It's a one year deal with incentives costing the O's about $6 million. For that, we get a player the fans loved (for a time, at least), a player who's been the AL MVP, a player who's been to six All-Star Games, and one who's new-found humility will let him move to 3rd base presumably without the drama he brought when the move was previously suggested. Make no mistake - Miggy needs the O's far more than the O's need Miggy. We had options, just not as good ones. Miggy was running clean out of places of employment for the price he wanted.
If he hits, we flip him at the ASG Break or soon after for another part. If he REALLY hits, and somehow, the O's are hanging around respectability or (God help us) the wild-card race, we keep him. He doesn't hit or he does whine? We've got options. The O's swallowed far more in salary cutting Jay Gibbons loose than what they would eat in Miggy's entire 2010 salary.
And consider this - with the signing of Miguel Tejada, we get back the player we traded to Houston to acquire our starting DH (Luke Scott), two of our relief pitchers for the last two years (Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate), organizational depth at OF (Mike Costanzo) and a pitcher who may still have an upside (Troy Patton). And it wasn't like we weren't gonna finish last with him. If we actually resign Erik Bedard, the Orioles will still have most of the original 12 players in the two deals, and will have flipped one remaining player for two more, including our presumed 3B of the next half decade. And we'll have the original two pieces of trade bait back at cheaper prices when the Orioles will be making their run at contention.
Not bad, Andy MacPhail. Not bad at all.
(edit from duck - And no, the fact that I and SeanP are the only two (before today) who included Miggy in the lineup card game doesn't make me that much happier. OK, it does. But still... I CALLED IT!)