Should the shortstop change teams or just his position?
By Christopher Heun
Fact: There’s been a lot of ink spilled over whether Miguel Tejada should remain at shortstop next year (if he isn’t traded first.)
Opinion: We love Miggy, but he should have been traded a year ago. If the Warehouse can get two solid prospects for him, they should swing a deal.
Opinion: He probably won’t be traded. If Peter Angelos refused to pull the trigger on Brian Roberts, then he’s unlikely to part with the team’s only true superstar. Besides, Miggy’s trade value has fallen. The Birds might be better off keeping him for the first half of 2008 and hoping he plays well. In that case, a position change wouldn’t be wise.
Fact: The most damning article about a possible move for Tejada, by The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, quoted third base and infield coach Juan Samuel as saying of Miggy, “He doesn’t move real well. I don’t know how we can [fix] it. He’s not overweight.”
Opinion: Why is Miggy’s own coach saying this publicly? And Juan Samuel of all people? He had about as much use for a glove during his playing career as Pele.
Fact: The same Zrebiec story also quoted a scout as saying:
“His arm is still a plus, but his range is very limited. He’s really gone backwards in terms of first-step quickness and his range. Really, I think most people think that he should be playing third base. I’ve been saying this since last year. Almost every game, there are one or two balls that he’s not getting to that he used to field.”
Fact: According to the Hardball Times, Tejada ranks second among American League shortstops in Revised Zone Rating (the proportion of balls hit into a fielder’s zone that he successfully converted into an out.) For the Out of Zone rating, he ranks seventh. See here for more on these stats.
Fact: Derek Jeter ranks at the bottom of both of those defensive categories.
Fact: Jeter has won a Gold Glove award the past three seasons.
Opinion: The Gold Glove is a joke.
Fact: In his blog, The Sun’s Roch Kubatko has said “Forget Miguel Tejada’s declining range at shortstop. He’s now having trouble handling grounders hit directly at him. What’s happened to his hands?” And rookie Luis “Hernandez has provided a significant defensive upgrade on the left side of the infield.
Opinion: So is Tejada a poor fielder or not? I don’t know whom to believe.
Opinion: Why not move Tejada to first base instead of third? This way, only one player is forced to learn a new position.
Fact: Hernandez, 23, was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves last October. If he turns out to be an everyday player next year, that would mean that two castoffs from other organizations have become significant acquisitions for the Birds (The other being Jeremy Guthrie, also claimed off waivers.)
Opinion: That doesn’t say much about the talent in the Orioles farm system, but we already knew that.
Opinion: The Orioles need players. Young players. Lots of them. Whether Miggy plays short or third or even first next year, unfortunately he can only play one position at a time. Should we blame him for that, too?