At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Friday, December 09, 2005

Miggy to Boston? Don’t Count on It

In a phone interview yesterday with the Associated Press, Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada said he is unhappy with the direction the Orioles are taking , and expressed his desire for “a change of scenery." Given that the Red Sox currently have an opening at the position, speculation today is rampant that a deal might be swung that would essentially swap Tejada for Sox left-fielder Manny Ramirez, who has out-and-out asked to be traded.

On the field, Tejada would step right into the Red Sox infield, while Ramirez would probably displace light-hitting Eric Byrnes – not the toughest decision the O’s would ever have to make. Statistically, the two players are roughly comparable – considering Manny’s superhuman prowess – as offensive threats (Tejada: .304 - 26 HR - 98 RBIs; Ramirez: .292 - 45 - 144). And financially, the numbers are close enough to make such a transaction thinkable – Tejada has $48 million remaining on his contract, Ramirez still is owed $57 million, and in the rarefied air of baseball economics, these figures are only a prospect and/or some cash away from being roughly the same thing.

The big questions are whether Ramirez – who as a 10/5 guy has the right to reject any trade – would consent to playing in Baltimore, and whether Tejada recants now that the Orioles apparently have signed free agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, and thus have negated Tejada’s complaint that “the Orioles have not made any signings to strengthen the club.”

Personally, I’d be surprised if such a trade materializes, though I have to say I’d be glad to see it happen. Tejada is a ‘dirt dog’ of the first degree, he can hit, and he can field at least as well as Renteria did last year. But I believe he was simply blowing off steam after having watched the Red Sox and Blue Jays make major moves to improve their rosters, and seen the Orioles do little beyond say goodbye to B.J. Ryan, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa. Manager Sam Perlozzo and pitching coach Leo Mazzone promise to breathe new life into a once-proud franchise, and my guess is that Miggy, who’s only 29 and has the baseball time to spend, will want to be part of the turnaround.


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