O’s spring training: The 25 who will make it (#4)

February 22, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Miguel Tejada hasn’t yet made it to Sarasota.

But he’ll be coming to Baltimore in April when the 25-man roster is set and the season begins.

Thus, Tejada is today’s profiled player on my “The 25 who will make it” blog.

Miggy returns to Baltimore two seasons after being summarily dismissed in a December ’07 trade that sent him to Houston, where he put up decent offensive numbers in the National League.  And when the O’s needed a 3rd baseman in this off-season, they eschewed the high-dollar entry fee of the Chone Figgins or Adrian Beltre sweepstakes and instead went searching for a cheap, reliable commodity who might settle for a one year deal while the club’s next-answer-to-Brooks-Robinson hones his skills in the minor league.

Enter Miguel Tejada for go-round number two at Camden Yards.

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the start of the season:  100%

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the end of the season:  75%

Odds he’ll be an effective contributor in 2010:  80%

Odds his name will be mentioned at the trade deadline in late July:  100%

Summary:  Tejada isn’t a gamble based on the $6 million salary the O’s are paying him, but he’s a gamble in that he’s moving from shortstop to 3rd base and he’s coming back into the American League East, where he’ll have to protect his offensive numbers while going up against the likes of Beckett, Sabathia, Lackey, Burnett, et al.  The best part about Tejada is this:  as long as he doesn’t completely produce a stinker at the plate (and I doubt that he will…the man can still make contact), someone will take him at the deadline and give the O’s the chance to get another prospect or two from a desperate playoff-hungry team.  Don’t be surprised to see the O’s call up much-heralded Josh Bell in late June and give him 15-20 games to show he’s semi-ready for the big leagues.  And if he is…it might be “adios Miguel” at the end of the July.

While his power numbers *ahem* have gone down over the last 3-4 years, Tejada is still consistently around the .300 mark at the plate and at this late stage of his career is focused much more on putting the ball in play than he is hitting it out the park.  Still, he led the National League in double play ground-outs a year ago and that’s NOT a distinction the O’s would like to see him earn this year.  My guess is he starts the season at clean-up and eventually settles into the 5th or 6th spot by the 50-game mark.

Drew’s projections for Tejada in 2010:

* .291 average

* 15 HR

* 70 RBI