It’s been a decade since Miguel Tejada was named American League Most Valuable Player. He hasn’t played a major league game since the 2011 season and even then he posted a sub-.600 OPS in 91 games of action.
None of this information stopped the Kansas City Royals from inking the 38-year-old Tejada to a minor league contract just before 2012 came to a conclusion. It is unknown whether or not the deal includes an invitation to Spring Training with the big club. Speculation is, however, that the Royals view Tejada as this year’s Yuniesky Betancourt: a low-cost veteran capable of playing shortstop.
Tejada has been playing winter ball and has reportedly been playing well enough that the Miami Marlins had considered signing him early in December to fill their vacancy at third base. Instead, the Fish went with Placido Polanco and Tejada had to settle for the minors deal with the Royals.
No matter how well he’s been doing in the Dominican, it looks like a long-shot that Tejada has anything left as a big league caliber hitter. He caught on with the Orioles in 2012 on a minor league deal but never made it back to the Show. In 151 Triple-A plate appearances, Tejada failed to homer and posted a paltry .296 slugging percentage and .621 OPS.
Kudos for Tejada in not giving up on his career, but this is to the point now that Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez saw at the ends of their career. Former sluggers and MVPs that saw their success fueled by performance enhancing drugs (Ramirez tested positive twice, speculation on Sosa and Tejada) only to decline to rapidly and so completely as they entered their late-30s.
This story will get attention because it’s the Royals and because Tejada was at one point a big name. But there really is nothing much to see here.