Ultimately, as time passed, the Orioles lowered their demands, and finally shipped Tejada to San Diego for Double-A swingman Wynn Pelzer today.
Who won the deal? Find out after the jump.
Tejada hit just .269/.308/.362 this year, walking in just 3.5% of his plate appearances. A drop in BABIP (.318 to .282) explains much of his batting average drop, so he probably deserves to hit closer to .280. The power doesn’t look to be there, though, and moving to Petco Park won’t do that aspect of his game any favors.
Tejada also struggled defensively in his first year at third base, although that’s largely due to his unfamiliarity with the position. The Padres are largely set at third with the superior Chase Headley (.269/.322/.379 and better defense). Headley, however, is hitting just .195/.265/.244 against lefties, so he and Tejada could be an effective platoon. The Padres may also have Tejada chip in at short, where he’d be a major offensive upgrade on Everth Cabrera (.201/.270/.278), although the Padres would take a hit defensively there.
The Padres have one of the weaker offenses in baseball, and they’re particularly thin on the infield, especially after David Eckstein‘s injury. There’s no question that Tejada is an upgrade on Headley’s production against lefties, Cabrera’s production at the plate, and Oscar Salazar‘s production in just about everything.
The Padres gave up Wynn Pelzer in the deal. They won’t miss him.
Pelzer’s a righthander with a good fastball-slider combo who can dominate when he’s on.
Problem is, in order to be “on,” you have to throw strikes, and Pelzer doesn’t. The Padres gave up on him as a starter earlier this year after he walked 23 batters in June, but a move to relief hasn’t helped, as he’s walked 10 and struck out just three in 6 2/3 innings.
The Padres already have one highly-touted reliever that can’t throw strikes (Aaron Poreda), and that’s enough. Given his problems, Pelzer’s expendable; the Padres have more bullpen depth than anyone in baseball anyway. Relief pitchers are fungible assets, and the Padres have so many good ones that they won’t miss Pelzer even if he becomes a dominant reliever with the Orioles.
For their part, Baltimore gets a live arm who needs quite a bit of fixing. Pelzer’s already 24, so he isn’t too much of a kid for a Double-A pitcher, but given Tejada’s age and relatively weak production, getting someone with upside is about all you can ask. Are you listening, Mark Shapiro?
This is a win-win trade. Both Tejada and Pelzer played for team’s that didn’t need them, and they now go to teams that do need them–it’s as simple as that. Both will be welcomed into their new organizations, and neither will be missed by their old ones.