Tejada Turmoil

What to do, what to do, what to do? Miguel Tejada remains one of the best players in baseball, when focused, yet his attitude and suspect effort continue to help bring the Orioles down.

Okay, the Orioles have brought themselves down with a myriad of foul-ups only a Kansas City fan may truly appreciate. But if Baltimore is to regroup, and there are enough signs of progress from within, can Miguel Tejada lead that resurgence?

Most experts say you don’t get better by trading your best player. O’s V.P. Jim Duquette made that abundantly clear last week on WBAL Radio’s Sportsline (I figure if I promote the show enough they’ll keep letting me fill in). However Tejada’s behavior the last 11 months has me convinced the Orioles path to recovery is best suited without him.

He stopped leading, he routinely dogs it on grounders (the time will come when the throw is wild and he can’t take 2nd base because he has yet to reach first), and with the glove, while occasionally spectacular Tejada’s 11 errors this season are more than all but three Major League shortstops. And what about hitting in the clutch? 21 times Tejada’s grounded into a double play. His career high in that dubious category is 26.

But this rant is less about stats and much more about his sulking demeanor. We don’t know all the issues to lead Tejada down this path. We know Rafael Palmeiro connecting him to the steroid scandal last year hurt and he feels let down by the club for not surrounding him with better talent. So what! Be a professional.

I take that one personally. Nobody cares when I’ve had only two hours sleep because my nine month old twins cried all night. I don’t start a sportscast complaining about that then mail in the segment. I’m getting paid to do a job regardless.

Go ahead get some value while it still exists at an elite level. His suitors know if put on an already winning team he’ll bounce back looking like the Miggy of old. Add to the young talent that’s finally arriving through the system. Look at the number of homegrown players now dotting the Camden Yards landscape. Brian Roberts, Chris Ray, Nick Markakis, Jay Gibbons, Erik Bedard, Daniel Cabrera. Plus Melvin Mora, Ramon Hernandez, Corey Patterson, and Kris Benson as very nice additions complete a rather decent core around which to build, in particular if you add some serious talent in a trade of Tejada.

There are enough problems with this franchise without a miserable superstar making things worse. And to those that ask how can you trade your best player what exactly are you afraid of? A losing season? Way too late for that.

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