After a decade of service at third base, Melvin Mora and the Orioles parted ways. Andy MacPhail and company filled that hole in the George Sherrill trade with the acquisition of Josh Bell. While Bell grows in the minors, the Birds needed a stop gap, so they brought back Miguel Tejada for his second stint and second position with the O’s.
While many wondered why the Orioles would want to bring Tejada back to Baltimore, to me it was a no brainer.
Tejada is coming off arguably his best season at the plate in 2009 with the Houston Astros. He hit .313, knocked in 86, had 46 doubles, and 14 homers. It was a season reminiscent of his 2004 performance with the Orioles and it even got him a few MVP votes and a trip to the All Star game.
Now, at age 35 Tejada makes the switch from shortstop to third base. He’s got the support of the beloved Cal Ripken, Jr. and brings back a spirited leadership into the locker room at Camden Yards.
Miggy’s fielding percentage is .971 for his career and has been above .970 since 1998, his second season in the bigs.
If he comes into Baltimore and plays solid defense with decent numbers at the plate, he’s the perfect guy to hold the position for Josh Bell. If he doesn’t and Bell heats up down on the farm, move over Miggy. No one expects a .313 season from Tejada in the AL East, but he’s proven that his bat is still alive and will be a vital part of the Orioles line up.
His numbers throughout 2009 were very well balanced. He hit .326 against left handed pitching, .380 in May, and .362 in September/October. He hit best in the 2 hole at .367 with on on base percentage of .393, but hit .280 in the three whole with 24 RBI.
It is projected that Tejada will hit clean up for the O’s, meaning he will get plenty of chances with men on. He hit .331 in 175 plate appearances and had 63 RBI with runners in scoring position last season and .328 with 22 RBI will runners in scoring position and two outs.
I think Tejada brings Baltimore a few more wins, more on offense than defense. He’s the man for the job and will make Bell work even harder to get the gig at third base, which is exactly what the Orioles are hoping.