Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bedard & Tejada Homecoming?

There's been some recent chatter about the Orioles entertaining the possibility of bringing back pitcher Erick Bedard and infielder Miguel Tejada. I say infielder in regards to Tejada because the Orioles are looking at him as a potential 3B, not the shortstop that Tejada has been his entire career.

I find it interesting that the O's are looking into bringing these players back. You'll remember that during the 2008 offseason these two were undoubtedly the O's best players and were traded for a pretty epic haul of young players. Bedard alone got us two All-Star players and a top pitching prospect. The quality of Tejada trade has faded somewhat, but it brought us Luke Scott, who has bettered Tejada's offensive output since he arrived, and Troy Patton, an injured, but one-time top rated prospect who can still have an impact at the age of 24.

Anyway, bringing back these players would make those trades look even better. Putting them on loan two years got us 10 players total, and helped deepen our organization with talent. And while neither player is as close to what they were when they were traded, they would each fill a role that the Orioles still need to fill.

Erik Bedard, who is recovering from a torn labrum, would likely miss a big chunk of the 2010 season as he finishes rehabilitation. Andy MacPhail has said that he believes Bedard will be ready to pitch "sooner than later", whatever that means, but there's no chance that Bedard is ready for opening day.

Over the last 2 seasons, Bedard has only pitched 164 innings, but when healthy, he's still got it. Last season he finished with a 2.82 ERA and the season before, 3.67. Bedard hasn't had an ERA above 4 since 2004. But the biggest question with Bedard is always going to be his health.

The Orioles are entertaining the possibility of Erik Bedard's return. However, he will miss a portion of the 2010 season recovering from labrum surgery.

Bedard has had some small attitude issues in the past, but after being dealt to Seattle, there were many rumors of Bedard homesick for Baltimore, where there was little pressure and not much of a spotlight. Bedard isn't getting many offers from other teams, probably because his 2010 status is so uncertain, so it sounds like of the Orioles want Bedard, he wants them.

As for Tejada, Miggy had some excellent seasons in Baltimore, despite his eventual discord with the organization. Tejada was regularly critical of the front office, who sold him on the idea that the Orioles were a rising team. But after Tejada signed with the club, they failed to upgrade the team in the following years, and Tejada sulked, showed up late on game day, and even asked for a trade. He seemed to eventually accept his fate in Baltimore, and still played hard at times, but overall, it was tough to watch Tejada, an ultra-competitive player, waste away in Baltimore.

Like Bedard, Tejada isn't getting many offers from other teams, so Tejada and the Orioles may find themselves in a marriage of convenience. Plus, Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette, who signed Tejada and then left him out to dry, are no longer the GM's.

Miguel Tejada lead the NL in doubles last year. Will the Orioles bring him back?

Tejada is open to moving to 3B, and could still offer plus production for the position, while 3B prospect Josh Bell gets his feet wet in AAA Norfolk. Last year Tejada lead the NL with 46 doubles, despite his decreasing HR totals. If Tejada can be signed for 1 year, or 1 year plus an option for a second, the Orioles should do it.

The only other free agent possibility for 3B is Joe Crede, he of no stick and constant injury problems. Crede is still a solid defensive player, but do we really want the entire left side of our infield to be no-offense players?

Signing Tejada, however, would murky the roster a bit. It appears Garrett Atkins is going to start the year as the Orioles 1B. That means Nolan Reimold is the everyday LF with Luke Scott as the permanent DH. Ty Wigginton is on the bench along with Felix Pie.

Wigginton, who had a significant down year last year, should bounce back in 2010 and could offer the same kind of production that Tejada would. Wigginton is signed through this year, so if Josh Bell does come up at some point, Wigginton can go back to the bench or another position, whereas someone like Tejada or Crede has no other position to play and would need to be traded or released to make room for Bell.

I personally would like to see the Orioles bring back Bedard and Tejada, despite the somewhat crowded house that will result in their return. Bedard is a good contingency plan if someone in the rotation is injured or doesn't perform, and Tejada could succeed at the bottom of the order. His defense at 3B is a question mark, however.

If anything, it makes the 2008 trades a lot more impressive, and gives the team an instant boost in talent and fan interest.

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