MLB Trade Ideas: 7 Ideas to Solve the Miguel Tejada Problem
This season, Tejada's batting average has hovered around .200, and he has just 10 RBI in 122 AB's. The whispers about Tejada showing his age are getting louder as his bat looks slow and he is not making solid contact very often.
Defensively, we are also seeing a decline in Tejada's skills. He has made five errors thus far, but the real problem is his lack of range. Especially when he plays the shortstop position, Tejada's lack of range is painfully apparent.
The Giants are built on pitching and rely on solid defense to help them win games. Poor defense is the area where Tejada's play has been most detrimental to the Giants.
What should the Giants do about Miguel Tejada?
Read on for seven potential solutions to this problem.
7) Make a Trade for J.J. Hardy
If Miguel Tejada continues to struggle both offensively and in the field, J.J. Hardy could be a viable option. Hardy is a streaky hitter and has a career batting average of .262.
Hardy's best years were in 2007 and 2008, when he hit 26 and 24 home runs respectively. At only 28 years old, Hardy should have a lot of good baseball left in him.
The Orioles will be out of the race in the AL East as we near the trade deadline. In fact, many would state that the O's are already out of the race, as they are in last place in the division on May 10. Hardy just came off the DL, but his presence will not turn around the lowly Orioles.
Hardy will be expendable as he is eligible to be a free agent following this season. He currently makes $5.85 million, so if the Giants were to make a deal for him at the end of June, he would only cost them about $3.3 million for the rest of the year.
The Giants would be able to give Hardy a four-month audition and could then determine if they wanted to try and re-sign him for the future.
San Francisco GM Brian Sabean would probably not need to give up any of his top minor league talent for Hardy. I think he could be had for a couple mid-level prospects.
Hardy is not a great fielder, but he is good enough to suffice. Thus far in 2011, Tejada's has not even been decent in the field, so Hardy would be an upgrade defensively.
Hardy is not the ideal solution, but one that should be considered if Tejada continues to struggle.
6) Cut Your Losses, Get Rid of Him
The Giants will have some tough roster decisions to make in a few weeks. Andres Torres and Mark DeRosa are now back from their stints on the DL and will need to get playing time.
For now, Tejada is safe because Pablo Sandoval is injured. However, when Sandoval returns in four to six weeks, then Tejada's position becomes much more tenuous.
Mike Fontenot is playing a solid shortstop and has provided the Giants with a spark offensively. If Fontenot continues to play well, he needs to retain his spot over Tejada.
At this stage of his career, Tejada is better suited for third base than shortstop. He simply does not have the mobility and range needed at the position.
Mark DeRosa can also play third base when Sandoval needs a break. The key is whether the Giants are confident that DeRosa and his bad wrist can hold up for the rest of the season, without any more trips to the DL.
Do I think the Giants will cut Tejada at some point during the season? Probably not, but it is an option.
When Pablo Sandoval returns in a few weeks, the picture becomes cloudier. If you take a look at the five reserve positions, you have Whiteside, DeRosa, Rowand, Schierholtz and one more spot. Right now, that spot belongs to Tejada, but there are some other options.
Darren Ford has been valuable off the bench as a pinch runner and defensive player. Also, there will come a time for Brandon Belt to return, and that could be sooner rather than later.
It is possible that the Giants could eat the remainder of Tejada's salary at some point and release him. That option, I believe, is very unlikely. More probable is that the Giants will use their DL to rotate a couple players on and off who may be nicked up.
5) Make a Deal for Marco Scutaro
Would it make sense for the San Francisco Giants to make a deal to acquire a 35-year-old shortstop to replace a soon to be 37-year-old shortstop?
Marco Scutaro is currently on the DL with the infamous oblique injury. If he is able to return and plays well, Scutaro could be a decent stop-gap option for the Giants. The Giants would then be able to determine if they wanted to keep him around for another year or two.
The play of Jed Lowrie at shortstop has made Marco Scutaro more of a utility player for the Red Sox. Scutaro had a fine 2010 season for Boston, as he hit .275 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI.
Scutaro is at the end of a two-year contract for Boston. The key as to whether Scutaro would be a good fit for San Francisco is twofold. Of utmost importance is his health. If healthy, Scutaro can contribute at shortstop for the Giants.
The second issue is what will Boston want for him. He provides the Red Sox with veteran quality depth behind Lowrie and second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
If the Giants can get him for a mid-level prospect or two, he would be worth a look. I have a hunch that Boston GM Theo Epstein will want more for him and if that's the case, I wouldn't make the deal. Nevertheless, it would be worth it for the Giants to make make the inquiry.
4) Make a Trade To Acquire Jack Wilson
Jack Wilson is a far superior defensive player than Miguel Tejada. Defense is the main area in which Wilson would provide the most value for the Giants.
Wilson is a rather mediocre offensive player, however. His career batting average is .267 and he has minimal power.
Wilson is a solid player who has toiled his entire career and never made the playoffs. This is very much like Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff prior to coming to the Giants.
Playing in the final year of his contract, Wilson makes $5 million. If the Giants were to acquire him prior to the trade deadline, sometime in July, they would only be on the hook for around $2.5 million.
It's unlikely that the Mariners would sign Wilson for 2012, so the Giants would not have to give up much to get him. Seattle may be happy with someone like Travis Ishikawa or a mid-level prospect.
The other key thing to consider is that Wilson and Freddy Sanchez are close friends from their days in Pittsburgh. Coming to the Giants would undoubtedly give Wilson a positive jolt of adrenaline as he would be playing with Sanchez and in the middle of a playoff chase.
Jack Wilson is a professional and a good guy in the clubhouse. He would fit in well in San Francisco and if Tejada does not pick it up, this should definitely be considered. I believe he is the best fit available not named Jose Reyes.
3) Give Tejada More Time
The option the Giants will most likely take, at least in the near term, is to give Miguel Tejada more time. He can split time at both third base and shortstop, which will help to keep his legs fresher.
They are hoping that as the weather warms up, so will Tejada. In his game Wednesday night, Tejada had one of his best overall games as a Giant. He collected three hits, an RBI and also made two nice defensive plays.
This productivity came after two days off for Tejada and manager Bruce Bochy will want to see more of this from him.
As a veteran, Tejada will get more time to find his game, but the Giants won't wait forever.
2) Split Time with Mike Fontenot
Mike Fontenot has been a valuable reserve off the bench for the Giants, since he joined them last season. Now, given a chance to play on a regular basis, he has delivered.
Fontenot has been playing the shortstop position, with Tejada moving over to third base. He's an upgrade over Tejada defensively, and although he's hitting only .219, he has provided some clutch hits to win some games for the Giants.
Fontenot is an excellent utility infielder and has also served as a good pinch hitter off the bench. I don't believe he's an every day player, but at this stage of his career, neither is Miguel Tejada.
I can foresee the Giants using a three-man rotation at shortstop and third base, until Pablo Sandoval returns. Manager Bruce Bochy is very good at playing the matchups and also will go with the hot bat whenever he can.
A three-man rotation with Tejada and Mark DeRosa at third and Tejada and Fontenot at shortstop is a possible solution. None of these players is really capable of playing every day, as DeRosa's wrist does not seem like it can hold up under the grind of playing every day.
1) Acquire Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes would be a great addition to the Giants. He is an exciting and dynamic player who will be 28 years of age in June.
Reyes is a proven leadoff hitter with a career batting average of .287, and he's currently hitting .313 with an OBP of .365. Reyes has some pop also, as he has hit double-digit home runs in four of his prior five seasons.
Reyes also would provide the Giants with another player with outstanding speed. He has led the league in stolen bases three times and still has the legs to run. Reyes had 30 steals in 2010 and 12 already this year.
Jose Reyes also has excellent range at shortstop and would be a defensive upgrade for the Giants.
The three key issues facing the Giants about Jose Reyes are how much would the Mets demand in return, is the ownership group willing to pay his salary for the remainder of 2011 and can the Giants sign him to a longer term deal.
The Mets are cash-strapped and also not good enough to challenge for a playoff berth this year. Trading Jose Reyes is almost a foregone conclusion.
The Giants will likely have to offer a package including some top young talent, perhaps top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler and reliever Dan Runzler. Unfortunately, it will likely take more for the Giants to get Reyes.
If the Mets would accept an offer including Wheeler, Runzler, Nate Schierholtz and maybe another mid-level prospect, it would be quite intriguing. The Giants would need to pay the pro-rated remainder of Reyes' $11 million contract for 2011.
If the Giants are to give up that much for Reyes, it would also be important for them to be willing to sign him to a four or five year contract extension. This would likely cost them about $60 to 70 million for four years. I don't know if the Giants would be willing to do that, especially in light of the fact that they will also need to pay Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain big money.
I must state that I would go for it and make the offer to acquire Jose Reyes. The Giants have a window of opportunity right now when Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain are at the top of their game. Madison Bumgarner is an emerging star and Jonathan Sanchez, although inconsistent, has shown moments of brilliance.
You do not get the chance to win it all very often, and if it takes giving up a top talent like Zach Wheeler, you have to do it. You never know about minor league pitchers and how they'll adapt to the majors.
Outstanding pitching can be a fleeting thing and can go at any time. Right now, while the Giants have these great arms, is the time to go for it.
What Do I Expect the Giants To Do?
I fully expect that the Giants will give Miguel Tejada more time, at least another five weeks or so, until Pablo Sandoval returns. Tejada will probably play about 70 percent of the time, splitting his position between third base and shortstop. He will get occasional days off, as Bruce Bochy will try to keep him fresh.
The injury to Pablo Sandoval buys Tejada this time to see if he can turn his season around both at the plate and in the field. However, when Sandoval returns, he will be the everyday third baseman.
Tejada will need to have started hitting well, and his defense must improve for him to get regular starts at shortstop. If not, he will split time with Mike Fontenot, and the Giants will also look at some of the trade options I mentioned.
If the Giants can make a deal for Jose Reyes and sign him to a longer-term deal, that would be my ideal scenario. If Tejada, Sandoval and Fontenot are playing well after Sandoval's return, that makes any trade less likely.
However, if Tejada is still mired in the .200 range and not fielding well, or if Sandoval slumps, the Giants will pursue other options.
I believe GM Brian Sabean knows that he has a unique opportunity right now with their stellar pitching staff. He won't be afraid to make a move, even if it means losing some good young talent.
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