Part 3: Miguel Tejada and the Third Base Hole

This Rocket's at the end of this ride
Hughes and Melky for Jake Peavy?

Following up on yesterday’s discussion about a potential trade for Miguel Cabrera, our focus in third base should shift away from the young Marlins stud and on to some other, slightly less appealing options. The Yankees, you see, have announced that Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy are all but untouchable. In a year in which the Yanks will have to fill that third base hole via a trade, this announcement still leaves the Yanks with a few appealing options.

For one of those options, we turn our attention south down I-95. Two hundred and two miles southwest of Yankee Stadium sits Camden Yards where the 31-year-old Miguel Tejada has manned short stop for the last three years. Now, the Orioles, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun, are ready to deal Tejada, and the price tag is not too steep.

According to the Sun, the Orioles are primarily looking for young, nearly Major League-ready position players. While the Yanks are short on that in their farm, the Orioles would not say no to a package with a few young arms either. As club President Andy MacPhail said of the beleaguered franchise, “Let’s get the young talent first, and then we’ll sort it out.”

And then along came Tyler Kepner with possibly the best news of the Yankee off-season: There’s a team out there actually interested in Krazy Kyle Farnsworth. That team just so happens to be the Baltimore Orioles. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Could the Yanks really spin Farnsworth plus some lesser prospects to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada and the $26 million Tejada is owed over the next two season? I don’t see why not.

There is of course a rub. There always is. Miguel Tejada has played 1531 games at short stop during his career and zero at third base. The Yanks would have to convince Tejada – or, dare I suggest it, Derek Jeter – to switch to third base. I’m sure it won’t take much convincing if the Yanks can sell Tejada on playing for a winner.

At 31, Tejada’s on the down swing of a great career that has always seemed one step away from a major PED scandal. His power has declined a bit over the last few seasons, but he still seems good for about a .300/.360/.450 line. He stays healthy; he plays with intensity; and as Buster came oh-so-close to writing today, Tejada is a pretty good fit for the Yankees, all things considered.

I would almost say, with Farnsworth involved, that Tejada is the best option. They can ride it with Tejada for two years and then look at other options after 2009 when Miguel Cabrera hits the open market. Maybe I’m dreaming. Maybe the Orioles won’t give up a star player without much, much more in compensation. But I like this option quite a bit.

This Rocket's at the end of this ride
Hughes and Melky for Jake Peavy?
  • dave b.

    while this is the most appealing option to me so far, i would consider scott rolen a better option than tejada. agree/disagree?

    • Ben K.

      Based on recent track record and overall health, I’d have to say no. At this point in their respective careers, Miggy turning 32 next year is a lot better than Rolen turning 33. Rolen’s also played a full season just once out of the last three and has a bunch of recurring injury issues. While Tejada was hurt last year, that was an accidentally injury and shouldn’t carry over at all. I take Tejada.

    • JCP

      Rolen would give you superior defense and could probably be had for a bag of baseballs given his contract situation, but you have to be nervous about his injury history, especially as it seems his shoulder never really got right.

  • Keith

    for me, it would kill 2 birds with one stone. if BC can swing this type of deal, maybe send back a couple of B level arms with Farnsworth, or throw them Sardinha or something like that, it makes sense to me.

  • Rob

    I’m game, even if the cost includes Melky.

    Melky + Farns + Marquez seems about right to me.

    • Keith

      I wouldnt oppose moving Melky in a package for Tejada, either. After seeing him play the past 2 seasons, he’s a good player, but I dont see him as an everyday OF for the Yankees in the future.

      If you need to move him to fill the 3B gap, and maybe take a flyer on a FA CF, or find out the asking price for a guy like Rocco Baldelli or David Dejesus, I’d do it.

      Of course, we still have Damon, who can track down the flyballs in CF, but just cant throw the ball back in.

  • JCP

    The Miggy C talk was so much more exciting….

    24 year old superstar hitter vs. Tejada past his prime…..

    Tejada of course wouldn’t cost nearly as much.

    • Rob

      I agree completely.And what better way to wash the taste of A-Rod than with Miggy C. Still, this thread is more realistic and without the cost of any top pitching.

  • pettitte’s stare

    I guess for me it matters what prospects we have to give up. Getting rid of Farnsworthless is great and if you can throw in two Desalvo type arms and maybe a PTNL but i’m not big on giving up to much for someone who has never played third base and has seen their slugging decline the past two years.

  • Rob

    By the way, I’m not sure Tejada’s power surge was “enhanced”. It was right in line with normal progression at his age given his previous performance. Nothing like Luis “I stole Game 7” Gonzalez.

  • Steve S

    This is no way an endorsement of Farnsworth but with Joba being a starter, Viscaino a potential free agent and all of these trades who is in our bullpen. I know Ohlendorf, I guess Sanchez by June (hopefully), maybe Veras, Im just trying to figure out who else. I know we have all the kids, but is it fair to Girardi to give him a rotation filled with kids, who have strict innings and pitch counts, and then give him a bullpen filled with Rivera and more kids? Im not saying Farnsworth is by any means a solution and they shouldnt do the trade in a heart beat but Im not even aware of any good middle relief free agents (and I use the term “good” loosely). And you hardly ever get an idea of hot middle relief trade rumors. I just think the steroid thing might be a distraction with Tejada, considering the impending Mitchell Report.

    • JCP

      Lidge would’ve been a nice pickup. The Phils didn’t give up too much to get a reliever who had a K/9 of 11.8 last season.

      • Keith

        absolutely agree. from what i read, the deal was discussed and completed over less than a week, and Wade never actually “shopped” Lidge around. I have to believe that if Lidge was shopped and made available, Cashman couldve offered a better deal than that.

      • Kanst

        They really did get him cheap, Bourne, Geary and Costanzo, what would be the Yankee equivalent something like Gardner, Veras and Shelley? I would have made that trade

  • steve

    ehh i don’t know about melky and farns for tejada, you have to remember if they lose out on melky they will have a pretty bad outfield defense … if it takes farns + some B prospects like clippard or marquez, etc and take on the entire contract hell ya i’d do it, but he has to play 3rd. jete ain’t moving for tejada

  • Count Zero

    Very appealing option. It remains to be seen whether the O’s would actually consider dealing Tejada within the AL East.

    Rob’s suggested seems a little too steep to me, though. Maybe Farnswacker, Marquez and the attorney general or Eric Duncan?

    • Rob

      I still think it’s early to give up on Duncan. He’s getting a long rest this winter. And I know I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come back and start hitting AAA pitching. He’s got the plate discipline, now he just needs to start making contact. It’s a big if but not outside the realm of possibility.

  • Kanst

    This is definately a trade I like more then the Cabrera one. Throw them Farnsworth, Steven White and Jeff Marguez. I dont get why the Orioles want relievers though. I guess you have to compete while re-building but they dont seem like they will be competitive at all next year so whats the point of bringing in more relievers

    • JCP

      I have to think they can do better from other clubs – I read that Pie was part of the discussion with the Cubs. If that’s the case then there’s no shot the Yanks are getting Tejada.

  • Rob

    Yeah, you lose Melky but Gardner will be ready and I’m not sure there’s much of a difference between the two. Melky gives a bit more pop, but Gardner has more speed. Defense wise, Gardner probably covers more ground but doesn’t have the same arm.

    While we’re thinking about trades of MLB talent, what about the NoMass suggestion: Matsui for a package of Andy LaRoche and bullpen help?

    • Keith

      I was thinking about this. Matsui of course has his full no-trade, but it’d be worth approaching him over. He’s closer to home in LA, which for him is still a big market stage, and he loved playing for Joe Torre. Coletti and Torre are big veteran-type guys, so I dont think they’d just not consider it at all.

    • Keith

      i’d inquire about Loney while i’m out in LA, too.

    • JCP

      It’d be an easy trade to pull the trigger on IMO, but I don’t think the Dodgers do it, especially if they are as optimistic about LaRoche’s success going forward as I am.

      Matsui does scare me though and it’d be nice if you could turn him into value…. he slugged below .400 3 of the 6 months of the season

      • CJB

        I was actually thinking about LaRoche a couple of days ago as a good replacement. While I am not sure that Matsui would be enough to pry him from LA, it is certainly worth looking at.

        Also, I know it would be very unlikely, and he has been moved around quite a bit, but what about Andy Marte from the Indians?

  • Rob

    I think the O’s would insist on one of Melky, Gardner, or Ajax given the woeful state of their OF with Patternson in CF. Of course, if it’s Melky then there less to include on the backside of the deal.

  • daneptizl

    Miguel has 2 more years let on his contract right? If so, I think this would be a pretty good option.

    • JCP

      yeah 2 more

  • JCP

    oh and as for the pen – there’s always Britton and Edwar – not too shabby

  • Mike A.

    In the name of all that is holy, SAY NO TO MIGUEL TEJADA!!!

    What exactly sounds appealling about an overpaid, aging and declining slugger? I understand we need a 3B, but just because a guy hits RH and may be available does not make him a good fit.

    Picking up Tejada would be a step back, not a move forward.

    • Mike R.

      A step back from what? From Wilson Betemit? I respect your opinion Mike, but you’re talking about Tejada like the is Sammy Sosa.

    • pettitte’s stare

      I don’t see this as a step back but rather a non move. Yes Tejada is overpaid but not grossly so, and it is only a two year contract. Unless Eric Duncan takes a hugh step forward, the pipeline for our next third baseman is at least two years away and the current market for a third baseman is rather thin. I think Tejada provides some pop as a RH and will fit into the lineup well. Have they announced the full coaching roster yet? I remember Bowa working extra hard with a-rod, it would be nice to have someone who could do the same with Tejada.

    • Rob

      Exactly. Two decently priced years is better than Lowell at a longer more expensive contract based on inflated Fenway numbers.

      Further, Tejada had one down year (and a .270 EQA) and all of a sudden he’s washed up? Dude put up three straight years of a .290 EQA previous to that and he’s only 31.

      I’m not saying it’s a great option, just that it may be the best out there for the cost/benefit.

  • nmc

    I know this sounds crazy, but they’re already talking about moving Cano to third. Could Jeter shift to second, where his horrible D would have less of an impact (especially since he won’t have to range to his left so much)…

    As for the question, would he do it? Someone’s going to have to say someday: Derek, you’re getting older and your defense is already horrible, it’s time to move.

    He’s going to have to someday. And he’s 33 (right?)…

    • JCP

      agreed a million times over.

  • steve (different one)

    i hate to be a wet blanket, but why on earth would the O’s trade Tejada to a direct rival for a crappy reliever and spare parts??

    do you guys think Tejada’s contract is a bad one? it isn’t.

    there would be other teams interested in Tejada. several teams. teams that would offer actual prospects.

    i find it funny that everyone assumes Tejada is washed up, yet offense + defense was probably only a hair worse than Jeter last year.

    • Rob

      Good point on the comp to Jeter.

      But I still think Melky + Farns is a decent start to a package. They need a CF and relief help. And while people may say Felix Pie is obviously a better option, what has he done in MLB?

      • JCP

        Who knows about Pie, but the Yankees probably only have Joba and Hughes that could fetch more than him in a trade. So if the Cubs really are bringing Pie to the table, then I can’t see Tejada coming to the Bronx.

    • JCP

      I echo this sentiment – it’s a favorite past-time of all fans to trade away marginal prospects, lots of them, to get actual returns. Interestingly, though, it did happen in the Abreu trade, which turned out to be for ~2.5 years at $16 mill per. Tejada’s scheduled to make $13 mill each of the next two years, so there is some reason to see it as a comparable situation.

      I think, however, that the Yanks won’t part with any real prospects and other teams probably will, namely the Cubs, whose GM hasn’t struck me as being very astute.

      • steve (different one)

        i feel like the Abreu trade in some ways has spoiled some yankee fans into thinking they can get any player in a salary dump for marginal talent.

        what everyone misses is that Abreu has a NTC and therefore the yankees were the only team in the bidding.

        several teams would bid on tejada.

  • Miles Roche

    How about moving Cano to 3d and then trade for Tejada to play 2nd?
    I think Cano has the better arm of the 2, am i wrong?

    • steve (different one)

      why not just play Tejada at 3B? why move 2 players? Cano is an excellent 2Bman.

    • Kanst

      Yes you are, Tejada has a very very strong arm

  • ceciguante

    agreed w/ steve (diff one). too many reasons this deal is a bad idea / pipe dream.

    -AL east competitors no make nice

    -farnsworth (core of package) for tejada is laughably one sided — doesn’t pass the sniff test

    -losing melky seriously weakens the yanks in OF defense, which is one of the WS winning components they have overlooked since 2000

    -gaining another “conversion” project at 3B weakens defense even more (see above)

    -damon is at best an average MLB CF, with pretty good range and terrible arm

    -the bidding for tejada (red sox, anyone?) would require MUCH more than farnsworth plus throw ins.

    tejada’s fame makes this deal a trap for the unwary, imho.

  • DKA

    Please no mention of NoMaas suggestions on here, for god’s sake. If they had 200 million dollars, I’d move to another country.

    Tejada’s the best solution I’ve heard yet. If he can play adequately and put up the numbers he does in a still-packed lineup, I think it could work just fine as shorter-term solution. You’re never going to get A-Rod level production there and, frankly, look where all that “production” got us. If it means some of our second-tier prospects and, maybe, Melky, go, that’s fine as well.

    • SG

      Starting Pitcher ERA leaders since A-Rod’s arrival in the Bronx (and i know ERA is a crude tool, but i am too busy to look up WHIP and K/BB rates and such):

      2004 – Jon Lieber

      2005 – Randy Johnson (age: 137, the same as joe louis when he lost to rocky marciano)

      2006 – Mike Mussina

      2007 – Chien Ming Wang

      All of A-Rod’s “production” helped mask the lack of quality “pitching,” which, in a short series, can get exposed pretty badly.

      I’m not saying A-Rod was a great postseason player here (though his performance in the 2004 ALDS is seemingly forgotten by all, he was unbelievable that series), but the implication that, because he didn’t win a title with the Yankees, the Yankees are just as good without him as they are with him, is ridiculous. As Kyle says below, there is no postseason without A-Rod.

      On a side note, isn’t it amazing the free pass Jason Giambi gets from the fans and media, and A-Rod gets crucified for sunning in Central Park?

  • Kyle

    “You’re never going to get A-Rod level production there and, frankly, look where all that “production” got us.”

    What, the playoffs? We’re really spoiled that being the ONLY team to make the playoffs EVERY year of this CENTURY doesn’t matter. Without A-Rod last year, we don’t make the playoffs. If anyone else in the line-up had decided to show up in the playoffs, or if we had actually had some starting pitching, maybe we could have actually won something in the playoffs, too. But those A-Rod homers, half of which came with the Yankees down or tied, got the team there. You can’t deny that.

  • NC Saint

    Tejada plays with intensity? Where is that coming from? I don’t see how anyone who can’t be bothered to run out his ground balls can be considered an intense player. Is there something else he does right?

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  • BiLLyBaLL3R

    Miguel Cabrera and Dntrelle Willis for Cano. Melky , Kennedy and another hotting prospect or mid level pitcher

    I know he “Miguel Cabrera” gets the moniker of being fat lazy and likes to party and eat too much, but Giardi likes him, and you’re not getting any closer to Manny then that and Dontrelle Willis too he’s 2 years removed from a 22 game winner Put these guys in a new winning athmospere who knows what they can do, they can revitalize? Guys like Miguel Cabrera dont come along every day! at worse he can DH play 1b or even RF if needed, and you know he can hit!

  • Matthew Cohen

    Check out Miggys away splits the last 3 years.

    Scary bad (under .800 OPS).

    Not sure he’s much better than Betemit at this point outside of a hitter’s park like Camden.

  • brxbmrs

    What about Jeter to CF?

    Unlike Ben, I don’t think replacing Melk in CF is easy (even with Gardner close), you could spend alot of money on a guy like Hunter or Jones but I think they would be very disappointing. I like Jeter in the center of the field for pop ups and general take charge stuff – I agree his range and scattershot arm are concerns in the if.

    The thing is, if you can get a “big” (Tejada isn’t a HR guy anymore but he’s still a dangerous RHH) RH bat somewhere – ie. First, 3rd, ss – then maybe you can experiment with Betemit on one of the if corners.

    Just a thought….

  • brxbmrs

    Trading Cano makes zero sense, unless its for Mauer and Morneau straight up.

    I’ll give em Justin Christian and PJ Pilletierre for Johan too ;-)