Buckle up…make sure your airbags work…and update your insurance…

May 08, 2007 | Drew Forrester

…’cuz there is gonna be a MAJOR pile-up at Camden Yards.  It could be a wreck of epic proportions by the time the dust settles in late September.

I wrote this last week and now it’s more apparent than ever.  This O’s season is going to get REAL ugly, REAL quick.

It’s a shame too.  I’m not saying they would have made the playoffs if Jaret Wright and Adam Loewen would have stayed healthy, but that pitching staff – buoyed by the surprising early-season start by Steve Trachsel – would have been serviceable enough to get the team into the 80-win region.  Now with Loewen on the 60-day DL (baseball code word for:  “done for the season”), this is a team with three legitimate major league starters and NO ONE else to throw on day #4 and day #5.

I know injuries are part of the game.  And no team is exempt from it.  But I can’t help but feel a little sorry for the Birds.  They’re now looking at – unless they pull off some kind of stunning trade for a front-line pitcher – a 65-70 win season.

I said this last week on the show and I’ll say it again today – and probably next week too.  Once mid-June rolls around and the team is the expected 12-15 games behind first-place Boston, I say you have to seriously consider shipping Tejada elsewhere.  Don’t wait until the deadline at the end of July when he’s miserable, his average has dropped because he hates losing 5 out of every 8 games and he says something dumb in the paper like, “I only want to go Boston”.

Move him on in June.  Trust me, he won’t be heartbroken.  He’ll say all the right things in the paper about not wanting to leave, loving the fans, how much he’ll miss the city, etc.  And then, in a flash, his bags will be packed, his condo will be sold and he’ll be just another player whose talents were squandered in Baltimore.

Get something GOOD for him.  Get something REALLY GOOD for him.  Despite some of the things we’re all picking up on now…the occasional lack of hustle…the more-often-than-we’d-like faux pas at shortstop…and his lack of producing the big hit in crucial situations…the guy is still a helluva player and will go someplace and help a GOOD team win.

The time has come – or at least the time will come in June – for the O’s to come to grips with the fact that they’re not being fair with Miguel Tejada.  I know he’s getting $12mil or $14mil or whatever he’s making this year, but let’s face the facts.  They brought him in here back in 2004 to make him the foundation of a winning franchise.  They promised him players.  Instead, they’ve given him Jaret Wright, Javy Lopez, Russ Ortiz and Eric Byrnes.  Feel free to add to that list if you like.

I’m not saying Tejada hasn’t been complicit in some of the losing that has gone on here, because I think he’s sort-of given up hope that the team is ever going to be good.  It shows in his play.  It doesn’t take a dummy to figure out that he’s miserable.  You’d be miserable too if you were 75-87 every year and didn’t sniff the post-season.

So, like that girlfriend (or boyfriend for you lady listeners/readers) you had in high school, it’s just best if “we part ways”.  No one is a bad person for this.  It’s just time to move on.  Tejada is arguably one of the best 10 best players the Orioles have had since the mid 1980′s.  He WILL go elsewhere and help a winner.  But he’s not going to help THIS team in Baltimore win.  Not this year, for sure, and I’m betting ’08 will be the same of what you’ve seen since 1998.  More losing.

Let’s see where this next 30-45 days of baseball takes us.  Unless they’re able to somehow find a decent major league arm (or two), I’m here to tell you this team is going to be 15 games out of first by June 15.

At that point, it’s time to make a deal.

DF

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