As we’re all aware, Miguel Tejada is back with the Orioles for 2010. Like just about every move the Orioles have made (and haven’t made) in the last two-three years, the Tejada signing has come with plenty of commentary from the fan base.
What I tend to be hearing most are rants and ruminations about Tejada’s final season-plus as an Oriole in 2007 and the attitude that came with it. The cliched “clubhouse cancer” and “me-first mentality” arguments are ablaze. I’m also seeing lots of “he just wants to win!” rebuttals.
In fairness to the naysayers, I have to agree that my final memories of Tejada in 2007 are not exactly fond.
From his pouty-pants tantrums to the steroid allegations, Tejada certainly didn’t leave Baltimore fans with a great final impression.
But the bottom line is this: I don’t give a hoot about Tejada’s last stint with the Orioles or any outsider’s interpretation of what his impact on the clubhouse will be.
First and foremost, chemistry is one of those elusive, intangible, pseudo-theories that managers use to inspire their troops and analysts use to fill dead air time. In the end, it comes down to wins and losses. Win games and team chemistry is great. Lose games and, well, it’s not great. Winning fixes everything; I am not going to fault anyone for being unhappy about winning 70 games a year (a good year, even). Even if I concede that chemistry exists and has an impact on a team, it’s likely the impact on a team that would consider 80 wins a breakout year is, well, minimal. Miguel Tejada’s antics are not likely to mean much in 2010.
But also worth note is that Miguel Tejada can still hit. At six million dollars with a few incentive-based figures added on, Tejada is costing the Orioles considerably less than when they had him last. And while his power numbers have faded significantly, his average and doubles numbers have remained. He is, far and away, the best option the Orioles have at 3B this season.
Put it this way: for every at bat Tejada gets, that’s one less that Ty Wigginton will have. And for that fact alone, I’m quite thankful.