The San Francisco Giants continued a longstanding tradition of reserving the shortstop position in their infield for men of a certain age by signing 36 year old Miguel Tejada to a one year contract at $6.5 million. Tejada, who knocked in 150 RBI in 2004 for the Baltimore Orioles, now becomes the starting shortstop for the Giants as they prepare to defend their World Championship title in 2011.
Tejada split 2010 between two teams, playing 97 games for the Baltimore Orioles and 59 games for the San Diego Padres. Overall, he hit .269 in 2010, with 171 hits, 26 doubles, 15 home runs, 71 runs scored, and 71 RBI. Tejada had a .312 OBP and a .692 OPS; he played third base and some DH for Baltimore and shortstop for the Padres.
San Francisco has made a point of providing an early bird special spot on the left side of their infield for older shortstops the past eight years:
2003 – Rich Aurilia, 32;
2004 – Deivi Cruz, 32;
2005-2008 - Omar Vizquel, 41;
2009-2010 – Edgar Renteria, 34.
2011 will see San Francisco once again trading range and speed at shortstop for veteran experience and a proven bat. The Giants paid Edgar Renteria over $9 million a year the past two years, so Tejada’s contract puts the Giants’ budget $3 million to the better as they deal with signing a slew of arbitration-eligible players.
Essentially, San Francisco has exchanged Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria for Miguel Tejada. The tasks remaining to get done are critical:
1. Who will play third base? There is little doubt the Giants have decided at this point not to depend on Pablo Sandoval’s ability to walk quickly past the buffet line. But if Sandoval can tame the beast, get in shape and somehow discover the joys of non-fat yogurt smoothies, his presence will be welcome on the 2011 Giants. Otherwise, a healthy Mark DeRosa is being paid $6 million next year and needs to finally join this team and contribute.
Offensive production, range and fielding at third base would be greatly improved with Mark DeRosa holding down the hot corner.
2. Do the Giants get a new left fielder or a new first baseman? Either way, Aubrey Huff is the other starter at one position or another.
3. For golly gosh sakes, get Cody Ross, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla, and Andres Torres signed and assigned permanent lockers as soon as humanly possible.