Three Years Ago Would Have Been Good, Six Would Have Been Better

Yesterday I joked about traveling through time. Today I’m wishing it were no joke, as the Padres have acquired third baseman Miguel Tejada and cash from the Baltimore Orioles for right-hander Wynn Pelzer.

What? No Adrian Gonzalez to Boston for some wicked good chowdah? Eh, maybe another year.

I’ve pointed out that Tejada, once a fine player, is basically a poor-man’s Jerry Hairston Jr. without the defensive utility at this stage in his career. Tejada supposedly will see action at shortstop. If he does, it will be the first time since 2009. He can’t be any worse there than Todd Walker was at third base in 2006, right?

I don’t expect Tejada to contribute much on the field, although I said the same about Yorvit Torrealba. Sometimes us old guys will surprise you. Other times, we are as lousy as you think we will be. Hey, one of those two things will happen.

On the bright side, the Padres didn’t give up a lot. I said “it would be a mistake to pay much beyond, say, a Double-A reliever” and that’s what the Padres paid, so I’ve got no problem with the cost. Technically Pelzer is a starter, although he probably will end up back in the bullpen, where he did most of his work in college.

I like Pelzer, one of the few power arms drafted in the Grady Fuson era. That said, he’s got work to do and the Padres have better options. They aren’t like to miss Pelzer in any meaningful sense of the word.

As for Tejada’s value, beyond what he brings to the diamond (probably not much), there are other considerations. For example, Gonzalez recently expressed a desire to see the Padres make a big move. I imagine he wasn’t the only guy in the clubhouse thinking that.

Even though Tejada isn’t very good anymore, the name still carries clout among his colleagues. I’m not saying I agree 100% with this way of thinking, but my guess is that current members of the team will see Tejada’s addition as a symbol of ownership’s commitment to 2010. There is something to be said for that.

Regardless, it’s not like Tejada is terrible. He just doesn’t represent an upgrade anywhere (Hairston is a better shortstop, Chase Headley is a better third baseman — except possibly against left-handed pitchers), nor does he fill a real need. Tejada isn’t harmful so much as he is superfluous.

Maybe he catches fire for a couple months and provides a few key hits a la Pat Burrell in San Francisco. Or maybe he goes Jeff Cirillo on us and adds no value. Either way, the Padres haven’t made a significant investment. They got a known name attached to a guy who may or may not have anything left in the proverbial tank.

On a tangential note, I was at Tejada’s big-league debut back in ’97. I spent most of my energy booing Hideki Irabu (who sent me into a frenzy by serving up a first-inning homer to Tejada’s former and now-current teammate Matt Stairs), but I do remember there being a distinct buzz surrounding Tejada’s arrival in Oakland. Of course, this was before Tejada suddenly got old that one day.

Anyway, he’s here now and that’s okay. If I don’t sound excited, it’s only because I’m not.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses »

  1. The damage may be the time that he takes away from a better player.

  2. Oscar Salazar? Craig Stansberry? Lance Zawadzki?

  3. They probably aren’t done. I can’t shake the feeling that they’re working on something larger under the radar that will surprise us over the next couple days.

    Plus, it sounds on they’re zeroing on Jake Westbrook for an August deal.

  4. Tejada at shortstop is a bit scary defensively; I guess he has more range than a marble statue but maybe only by a step. Better hands, though.

    Seriously, he looked unimpressive at third for Baltimore.

    However, as pointed out, the Padres got him cheaply and he will add a veteran presence for the stretch drive.

  5. Maybe this paves the way for signing Bonds? He was good (and on steroids) in 2002 also … just sayin’ …

  6. @Zach: Sounds like there are a lot of irons in the fire. Westbrook in August strikes me as a distinct possibility.

    @Lem: Better hands? Depends on the statue, I guess.

    @LynchMob: I like your out-of-the-box thinking.

  7. I’m fairly concerned that Buddy will play Tejada too much, and play him too much at short. By all accounts the man can’t play the position anymore.

    And we talk about using him to spell Headley at 3B against tough lefties, but lost in that is Tejada isn’t all that great at hitting lefties either. Is it worth it to lose Chase’s stellar defense?

  8. @David M: Hmmm, maybe you were right. The Padres sent Aaron Cunningham back to Portland to accommodate Tejada. I’m not sure that jettisoning one of our best RH hitters to make room for an inferior bat makes a lot of sense, especially since the Pads reportedly are still shopping for an outfielder.

    @Zach: Having Tejada play too much at short is a legitimate concern. On the bright side, at least Bruce Bochy isn’t managing this team. As long as Buddy picks his spots with Tejada, it should be okay… I hope.