Report: Tejada denies wanting trade
Miguel Tejada doesn't want a trade after all.
Three days after telling The Associated Press that he wanted "a change of scenery," the Baltimore Orioles' All-Star shortstop backed off those comments during a phone interview Sunday with Comcast SportsNet.
"I never said I wanted to be traded," Tejada told SportsNet. "I said I want to see a better team. I don't want to keep losing like we have the past two years."
Tejada signed a $72 million, six-year contract with the Orioles before the 2004 season. He hit .304 with 26 home runs and 98 RBI this year, but Baltimore finished 21 games behind the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in the AL East. In his first season as an Oriole, Tejada set career highs in batting average (.311) and RBI (150) and tied his career high in homers (34).
"I've been with the Orioles for two years and things haven't gone in the direction that we were expecting, so I think the best thing will be a change of scenery," Tejada told the AP during a telephone interview in his native Dominican Republic on Thursday.
"I've done many things with this team and I haven't seen results, and the other teams are getting stronger while the Orioles have not made any signings to strengthen the club," Tejada told AP.
But Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP while with Oakland, said Sunday that he's just frustrated with the team's struggles, especially with pitching.
"Look at the division we're in," he told SportsNet. "It's not easy to win without pitching. I'm not saying I don't like the team or the city. If they trade me, I don't want people to think I just want to go to a winning team. I just want the organization to do something, go get pitching. If they don't, they're telling me they don't want to win.
"I don't want to take anything away from the pitchers we have. But we need more. We need an ace. I think they've got to make some moves. That's why I'm upset. I hope the fans won't be mad at me. But I think me speaking up might actually help the team get better," he said.
The Orioles hired Leo Mazzone, the esteemed pitching coach who had six Cy Young Award winners and nine 20-game winners during a 15½-year run with the Braves, in October. However, they haven't gone after veteran pitching to balance a young rotation. Last season's rotation featured five pitchers under the age of 30 -- Erik Bedard, who finished the season 6-8; Daniel Cabrera (10-13); Bruce Chen (13-10); Rodrigo Lopez (15-12); and Sidney Ponson, who was released in September after posting a 7-11 record.
SportsNet reported that Orioles officials spoke to Tejada on Friday night after speaking with the shortstop's representatives, Diego Bentz and Fernando Cuza.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.