A lot of the buzz today was around the Orioles hiring Buck Showalter as manager.
As expected by the WNST staff, mostly from our own Glenn Clark, the Orioles did this one day before the initial full Ravens practice at McDaniel College on Friday.
And then, the Orioles management must have felt that Showalter’s hire was garnering enough attention. We knew it was going to happen, but we didn’t feel like the Orioles were going to beat at it some more and pound it on us Baltimore fans.
So of course, what did they do?
Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail “huddled up” and said, “Hey people aren’t turning their heads. We have to do something else.”
So hours after the Showalter hire, the Orioles shipped third baseman Miguel Tejada to the Padres around 4:30 PM for minor league pitching prospect Wynn Pelzer.
And while this wasn’t the biggest trade going down of the day(Astros ace Roy Oswalt was traded to the Phillies for J.A. Happ and others, Marlins INF Jorge Cantu went to Texas for two Double-A pitchers, Nationals reliever Matt Capps may be packing his bags for Minnesota), this certainly is news here in Baltimore showing that the Orioles management is getting things rolling.
Which way though is yet to be seen.
The Orioles had talks with the Cardinals early this morning about moving Tejada, to either put him at shortstop instead of Brendan Ryan or at third base instead of a scrappy hitter like Felipe Lopez.
The Padres meanwhile sit atop the NL West this year(3.5 games ahead of the Giants), and are one of the surprise teams out there, given their struggles from a year ago.
Bringing in a veteran hitter like Tejada, and one who has made the move to third base productively, is certainly a valuable addition to the team.
“This move was made because we feel it makes us better,” Padres GM Jed Hoyer told the Associated Press. “It gives us a player in several positions and it gives us a veteran leader.”
What the Orioles get in return for this is not a top prospect like pitchers Mat Latos, Simon Castro, Corey Luebke or OF Donovan Tate, but a Double-A pitcher in Pelzer who was the seventh-rated prospect in the San Diego’s system.
He is a guy known for his plus-fastball, but since being taken in the 9th round of the 2007 draft, the former closer at South Carolina has been inconsistent, has a tendency to walk guys, and has seen his velocity drop each year in the minors.
He can hit as high as 97 MPH on the gun, and also has a good slider and a change-up that could be effective given his velocity if he fine-tunes it.
And on top of all this, the Orioles sent in excess of a million dollars to help the Padres clear the rest of Tejada’s 6-million dollar contract.
A former starter, Pelzer would appear to have a better psyche and makeup to be a reliever. The Padres saw this as well at times.
Pelzer was 6-9 for San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, San Antonio, this year with a 4.20 ERA and a WHIP of 1.66. Not exactly the best numbers in the world.
Pelzer will fit right into the other question marks most likely at Double A Bowie, including the likes of Steve Johnson, who the Orioles got in a trade last year with the Dodgers for George Sherrill.
What this really does is give the other piece of the Sherrill trade, Josh Bell, his chance to shine.
Bell has already been with the big league club twice this year in two different stints. He likely will be with the team the rest of the way, with rosters expanding in a month.
Andy MacPhail said that was another motivation for making this trade.
“The primary motivation was to get Josh Bell back up here,” MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli Thursday night.
And now, through two trades of Tejada to the Astros and the Padres over the last several years, the Orioles have brought in:
- Matt Albers,
- Troy Patton
- Luke Scott
- Dennis Sarfate
- Michael Costanzo
As of now, Costanzo is the only one of the six not still with the Orioles.
Tejada was deeply discouraged to be leaving this team yet again, but he is happy to be back in a pennant race.
“It’s a good chance at being in the playoffs,” Tejada told the AP before tonight’s game against KC. “And that’s always good.”
And who knows, with Tejada only on a one-year deal at the moment, he could very well be on borrowed time with the Padres, and back with the Orioles a third time next winter.
And Tejada told Ghiroli that idea isn’t out of the possibility.
“I’ll always be interested in coming back here.”
“I love it here. In my heart, I’m one of the Orioles.”
We could be hearing more of these stories the next couple of days with guys maybe like Ty Wigginton, Jeremy Guthrie, Kevin Millwood, Luke Scott, and Will Ohman maybe following Tejada out of Baltimore.
Tune into WNST and WNST.net over the next couple days as we keep track of the Orioles’ attempts at rebuilding-and trying to top the Ravens in the area while doing it. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!