With trade, Tejada gets change of scenery he wanted; Orioles restock roster
HOUSTON -- Miguel Tejada got his wish, albeit a couple of years later than he wanted.
Two winters ago, Tejada caused a stir in Baltimore when he said was unhappy with the Orioles' direction and wanted to be traded. He later backed off that stance.
"I feel very happy with this trade, because it's something that I've been really looking forward to," Tejada told The Associated Press by telephone from Miami.
Tejada is mentioned in the Mitchell report, SI.com reported Thursday.
Houston general manager Ed Wade said the Astros couldn't pass up the opportunity to add Tejada. "The reality is when you are talking about a player of this magnitude, you have to go in with every expectation that the asking price is going to be very high and if you want to participate, it's going to be tough,'' he said.
On Wednesday, Tejada received a phone call from new Astros' general manager, Ed Wade, who immediately welcomed him to his new home. "I talked with Mr. Wade, and immediately I tried to make sure in the conversation that we both were on the same page. We both want to win," Tejada said in an interview with ESPNdeportes.com.
Tejada hit .296 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs this season. In 11 seasons, he has hit .287 with 258 home runs and 1,033 RBIs. His home run total ranks him fourth all-time among shortstops.
"This is a big day for us. We got a big bat to our lineup,'' Wade said.
The Orioles were worried about Tejada's range at shortstop. The 31-year-old had resisted their efforts to move him over to third base. Wade said while Tejada may not cover quite as much ground as he once did, the Astros are confident he'll be solid in that spot. Adam Everett, Houston's shortstop this season, will become an unrestricted free agent by Thursday, Wade said.
In 2005, Tejada came under scrutiny after teammate Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for steroids. Palmeiro said Tejada gave him vitamin B-12 that might have been tainted with performance-enhancing drug. Tejada denied any steroid use and his name has not been linked to any wrongdoing. Wade refused to make any comment on that subject. "I'm not addressing the steroid issue,'' he said.
When asked if it was a coincidence that the deal for Tejada was announced a day before former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's report on drug use in baseball was to be released, Wade said, "The deal was announced today because we finished it this morning.''
Not Short On Power
Miguel Tejada ranks fourth on the all-time list for career home runs by a shortstop.
|*258 total homers (3 as DH)|
Wade joked that he had no idea what would be in Mitchell's report. "Barnes & Noble didn't send me my advanced copy,'' he said.
Tejada said he figures he'll adjust easily to the National League, and that the cozy ballpark dimensions in Houston will benefit him. "I was in Houston last week and I've played in Minute Maid Park in the All-Star game, so I think I'll do great in that city,'' Tejada said.
The 2002 AL MVP with Oakland is owed $13 million in each of the next two years, the final seasons of a $72 million, six-year contract. The trade was the latest big move by Wade, who took over as GM in September. Houston finished 73-89, two years after reaching the World Series for the first time.
Earlier this month, the Astros finalized their $16.5 million, three-year contract with free agent second baseman Kaz Matsui. He's expected to bat second behind new leadoff man Michael Bourn, acquired in November as part of a package that sent reliever Brad Lidge to Philadelphia.
Tejada had played all 162 games in six straight years before playing 133 this season. In 2006, Tejada sometimes drew the ire of the Orioles for failing to run out grounders and being the last player to arrive at the ballpark. The Orioles went 69-93 this season and were hoping to restock their roster.
"That's one of the concepts behind, in this position, obtaining five players in exchange for one,'' Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "Nobody knows for certain how these young players are going to evolve, but if you get five you start playing the percentages, quite honestly.''
Scott, 29, hit .255 with 18 homers and 64 RBIs as Houston's regular rightfielder. Albers, a 24-year-old righty, went 4-11 with a 5.86 ERA.
Patton, a 22-year-old lefty, made his major-league debut this season. Sarfate, a 26-year-old righty, was 1-0 in seven relief appearances.
Costanzo, 24, was acquired from Philadelphia in the deal that also brought Bourn. He hit 27 home runs in Class AA this season. The Orioles will assign him to the minors.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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