Miguel Tejada: Plan-D for the Minnesota Twins

“Miguel Tejada signs with the Minnesota Twins.”

Reading that headline wouldn’t elicit the excitement it would have five years ago, but it’s still an intriguing proposition.

Five years ago, Tejada was one of baseball’s best players and had recently signed a massive (at the time) six-year, $72 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

In the five years since, he has suffered through multiple steroid allegations at the hands of former teammates, inclusion in the Mitchell Report, a perjury charge, and it was revealed that he was two years older than he’d claimed.

Those off the field controversies took their toll and, along with Father Time, lead to the slow and steady erosion of Tejada’s on field production.

The former American League Most Valuable Player has lost most of his power, having slipped from 34 home runs in 2004 to a meager 14 last season.

Additionally, his defense at shortstop has gone from below average to downright ugly.

As a result, Tejada’s next starting gig figures to be as a corner infielder, with third base making the most sense given his strong throwing arm.

No doubt, Tejada is far-removed from his glory days with Oakland and Baltimore, but he can still be a valuable asset to a ballclub.

He’s certainly no team’s first or even second-choice this offseason, but he makes a lot of sense as Plan-D for Minnesota.

Tejada, a six-time All Star, can still hit and knows how to get on base at a good clip, despite not drawing many walks.

His ability to get on base would make him an ideal two-hole hitter for the Twins. He would also serve to break-up lefties, Denard Span and Joe Mauer.

His .313/.340/.455 line in 2009 was roughly in line with his career averages and, at 35 years old (or so we’re told), he figures to still have a few good years ahead of him before his skills relegate him to bench duty or retirement.

With that in mind, it makes sense for the Twins to at least consider signing Tejada to man the hot corner for most or all of next season.

Tejada, despite his age, has an incredible track-record for durability.

Since 1999 he’s played in 158 games or better every year, except for 2007 when a fractured wrist limited him to 133 games.

He had an incredible six-year run from 2001-2006 where he appeared in all 162 games every year.

Given the durability, or lack thereof, shown by last year’s third baseman, Joe Crede, Tejada would be a breath of fresh air.

After years of flip-flopping players in and out, there’s no doubt that Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire would relish having a name he could consistently pencil in at third on his lineup card.

Durability notwithstanding, Tejada—much like the aforementioned Crede—only makes sense for the Twins on a one-year deal.

Unlike other third base options (ie: Adrian Beltre), Tejada can only be viewed as a short-term placeholder for eventual successor, Danny Valencia/Luke Hughes.

At his age and with his skill set declining, Tejada shouldn’t be expecting much more than one-year offers, especially in a deflated market that is overrun with younger, more talented third basemen.

Tejada could seemingly be had on a one-year deal in the $5-7 million range for a base salary with plenty of reachable incentives that could push the total value up to $10-12 million.

Tejada certainly won’t play for pennies, but someone as durable and steady as he is shouldn’t be worried about playing for incentives that he would figure to reach if he remains his usual healthy-self for an entire season.

Obviously Tejada is not the best option on the market and, in all honesty, probably not even a top five option, but he is still an option.

If nothing else, he’s certainly a more appealing alternative to seeing Matt Tolbert or Brendan Harris in the starting lineup every day.

No one knows what the free agent market will look like when it opens on Friday and it is entirely possible the Twins will miss out on other far more attractive options.

If that’s the case, Tejada would make a solid Plan-D.

“Miguel Tejada signs with the Minnesota Twins.”

It may not be nearly as exciting as it once was, but it sure does have a nice ring to it.

About Jeremiah Graves

Things I dig: baseball, zombies, comfy t-shirts, Jennifer Aniston and cheeseburgers. Things I don't dig: the NBA, vampires, dress pants, Carrot Top and peanut butter.
This entry was posted in AL Central, Baseball, Cheap Seat Chronicles, Free Agency, Miguel Tejada, Minnesota Twins, MLB, MVP. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Miguel Tejada: Plan-D for the Minnesota Twins

  1. Pingback: Maybe It’s Just Me: The Bill Smith Inactivity Edition « Cheap Seat Chronicles

  2. Pingback: Is Eric Byrnes an Option for the Minnesota Twins? « Cheap Seat Chronicles

  3. Pingback: Minnesota Twins: Offseason Options and Fans’ Optimism Dwindling Fast « Cheap Seat Chronicles

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