Giants Sign Miguel Tejada to Replace Uribe
I haven't yet had a chance to talk to anyone close enough to the team yet to verify, but something tells me the Giants had Tejada in mind all along as a backup plan to Uribe. Otherwise, I don't see how they could have acted so quickly. My suggestion in the previous post was to wait out the market and see what happens with arbitration eligible shortstops (J.J. Hardy, Yunel Escobar and Jason Bartlett were a few guys who may have been available via trade, or non-tender free agency), but they already had a plan. In the end, it's going to be Miguel Tejada who will be manning shortstop for your 2011 San Francisco Giants, as the Giants got him on a 1 year, $6.5 million deal. I know said I cringed at the idea of Tejada starting at shortstop for the Giants, but after looking at his deal, and really comparing him both offensively and defensively to Uribe over the last few seasons, it doesn't seem like such a bad signing after all. Maybe they catch lightning in a bottle again like they did with Huff last year and Tejada returns to that .313/14/86/.795 line he put up with Houston in 2009. Last year, Tejada's average dipped down to a career low .269 (20 points higher than Uribe in '10), but he still managed to hit 16 homers and drive in 71 runs, so when comparing his numbers to Uribe's, they really aren't far off. Miggy probably won't hit as many dingers, but will carry an average 20-30 points higher than Uribes, and bring roughly the same defense and may end up driving in more runs as he's more productive with runners on base. Uribe is slighly better defensively, as he's younger and may have a little more range and stronger arm, but I don't think the defensive fallout will be that noticeable. If the opportunity presents itself for Sabean to get a better option at shortstop (who knows, maybe he swipes Jose Reyes from the Mets, who are shopping him, or gets Hardy from the Twins) there's a chance Tejada ends up as a super-utility guy like Uribe was in 2009 as he brings the same versatility as Uribe.
Again, Tejada is what he is, a veteran on the decline who's best years are behind him, but he's still got some positive traits he can bring to a club. 2 years ago, I would have screamed at Sabes for this deal, but I do see some logic in this one. Look at how all Sabes 1-year deals turned out last season (Uribe, Huff and Burrell (in-season signing in May)). It's those 2+ year deals with the veterans where he's getting in trouble, and since he got Miggy without having to commit 2 or more years, I have to call that a win in itself. Tejada is going to be a nice clubhouse presence like Renteria and Uribe were, and he should be just about as productive, at about 1/2 the price the Giants paid the Uribe/Renteria duo in 2010 (roughly 12.5 million between them). Now, that said, I don't think Sabean is done adding to this infield and may find another guy more defense-worthy for shortstop. Right now, the backup to Uribe would be either Mike Fontenot or Emmanuel Burris, and neither of those guys are necessarily defensive wizards at short. Like I said in the last post, and since they've now singed Tejada, it wouldn't surprise me to see this move followed with the signing of a guy (Cesar Izturis?) to be that defensive caddy at short. Either way, with the winter meetings just 1 short week away, baseball hot stove is about to pick up, and the Giants now get to put their primary focus into finding a corner outfielder with some punch to take Burrell's spot. I think Adam Dunn would be choice under the right terms, but then read his agent was seeking deals starting at 4/$60M, which is probably 2 years and about $30 million more than the Giants would go.
I just hope that in the offseason after their first World Series win in San Francisco history, they're able to lure in somebody a little bigger than just Miguel Tejada. The two guys I see as perfect fits for this yard who are available but would come at a price are obviously Carl Crawford, but also Jose Reyes, who may cost them Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Belt in a trade with New York, but if healthy, could hit 40 triples per-year at AT&T.