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.