Let’s get this out of the way: Miguel Tejada is no longer the player you remember. In fact, he is no longer a good player.
This season, Tejada has been worth 0.1 wins, making him a slight upgrade over current awful Padres Everth Cabrera and Matt Stairs (-0.1 wins) and Oscar Salazar (-0.3), and assuming that he takes Everth’s shortstop job, Tejada will become the worst hitter on the team and it won’t be close (-10 runs). The next lowest position player is Salazar at -3.6. While all current Padres have Petco Park pulling their numbers down, Tejada has Camden Yards lifting his up. Yet he’s still only managed a wRC+ of 81. On the road, that number drops to 60.
But wait, it gets worse. Tejada will likely become our everyday shortstop, a position where he couldn’t find a job last offseason. In the 16,000+ innings he’s logged at short in his career, Tejada has been worth -30.2 runs on defense (-3.6 UZR/150) and from 2007-09, the last three seasons (almost 3,800 innings) he played at the position, he was worth -6.3 runs (-5.3 UZR/150). We don’t have enough information to draw any conclusions, but early returns on Tejada’s play at the hot corner have not been inspiring (-7.3 UZR/150 in 808 innings).
Sounds awful, right? Why would Hoyer make this trade? For starters, it didn’t cost a whole lot. While Wynn Pelzer, our contribution to this trade, was ranked seventh in our system by Baseball America before the season, his lack of control and modest projections make him a small loss. And despite his apparently fading abilities, Tejada has maintained his reputation as a great teammate, earning high praise from none other than Mark Loretta:
Loretta said Tejada was one of the best teammates he ever had.
“He’s just a fun guy to be around,” Loretta said. “He really pulled for his teammates, kind of one of those guys that people are drawn to. Funny, plays every day, plays hurt. He’s a gamer.”
I don’t think I need to tell you that no one, save for Bryan Cranston, has benefited from chemistry like these 2010 San Diego Padres and it sounds like it just got better.
Ultimately, this is an uninspiring-but-inoffensive trade. The team didn’t add the missing piece, but they didn’t just trade Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps either. Tejada hasn’t been a good player so far this season and while it’s possible that a jump into the fire could do him good, he’s still replacing a player worse than him even if it doesn’t.
If nothing else, Tejada makes this team that much easier to build on MVP 2005, so let’s call it a win.