Orioles' pacifying of Tejada will take some convincing
The best way for the Orioles to make Miguel Tejada happy? It's to get some other big name to take their money, so their biggest name gets the message it's safe to stay right where he is.
Miguel Tejada for Mark Prior? Don't bet a deep-dish pizza on that one, either.
Tejada to the Angels? Tejada to the White Sox? Tejada to the Nationals? Not so likely, either.
Miguel Tejada to stay right where he is? Likely.
The Orioles' spectacular shortstop sure has gotten a lot of people around America worked up with his "time-for-a-change-of-scenery" quotes last week. But there is one team that hasn't gotten real trade-happy since then. And it's the one that matters most.
Because that team is the Orioles.
Clubs that have inquired about Tejada over the last few days report they've been told the Orioles are in no hurry to trade him -- because they're hoping he'll change his mind.
One thing the Orioles haven't said, though, according to teams that have spoken with them, is: "Don't bother, because we're keeping him."
They have assembled a list of interested teams. And they've indicated they probably have no choice but to at least explore their options.
|Clubs that have inquired about Tejada over the last few days report they've been told the Orioles are in no hurry to trade him -- because they're hoping he'll change his mind. One thing the Orioles haven't said, though, according to teams that have spoken with them, is: "Don't bother, because we're keeping him."|
But they haven't fielded formal offers. And they haven't said what they would want back -- even though the price obviously would be massive. So every signal they've been sending is that their first priority is to convince Tejada to stay.
To do that, however, the Orioles need to make some moves that let Tejada know they're not just sitting around the office, watching everybody else fill up the transactions column.
Tejada has been telling people in the Dominican Republic that he didn't expect to stir up all the headlines that have exploded since his interview Thursday with The Associated Press. His only motivation, he has been telling friends, is simple: He just wants to win.
He has a long reputation as a peace-maker, not a troublemaker. So if the Orioles give him reason for hope, you would expect him to backpedal and tell them he'll stick around.
But there's no better way to get them moving if they don't want to than to say you want out. Is there?
The Orioles, from all accounts, have gotten that message. But there are no indications they're close to pulling off anything dramatic enough to make this situation change over the next few days. So Tejada's status is likely to hang over the Inner Harbor for at least a few weeks, unless he abruptly changes his mind.
In the meantime, the Orioles have let Tejada's suitors know that, if they ever do decide to move him, the price will be "heavy," according to an official of one club.
One Orioles official told the Baltimore Sun this weekend there was "no way" they would swap Tejada for Manny Ramirez. The Red Sox, on the other hand, haven't been told that, from all accounts.
If the Orioles need to get major talent back, Ramirez would figure to top the talent charts. But here's the problem: To take on a high-maintenance guy like Manny, there's no one they would need around to keep him on his best behavior more than Tejada. So they probably can't trade him to Boston unless they can clone him first.
The Cubs also are known to have asked about Tejada. But the Orioles almost certainly would want Mark Prior or Carlos Zambrano back. And if the Cubs flatly dismissed the thought of trading either of those guys for Bobby Abreu at the winter meetings, there is no reason to think they would deal them for Tejada, either.
The Angels, who have good young players backed up all over their freeway, probably could match up with Baltimore. But the Angels are a team that's never been inclined to empty the system to make this kind of deal. So it's unlikely they would reverse that M.O. in this case.
There have been indications that as many as eight teams have called the Orioles already to kick the tires on Tejada. But none of them got the impression the Orioles were ready to kick back.
So the pressure might be on this team, all right -- but not to work out a deal. The real pressure is to get some other big name to take the Orioles' money, so their biggest name gets the message it's safe to stay right where he is.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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