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Giants Sign Miguel Tejada

December 2, 2010

Wow, that sure happened quick.  Not long after the Dodgers signed Juan Uribe to a 3-year, $21MM contract the Giants pounced on the 36-year-old shortstop, signing him to a one-year contract worth $6.5MM with a $500K bonus.  The Giants were apparently in on the Rays’ Jason Bartlett but ultimately decided against dealing for the shortstop- and honestly, that doesn’t surprise me much.  General Manager Brian Sabean seems rather tentative to make trades in recent years, with signings being his mode of operation (seriously, I don’t recall Sabean making a “big” trade since the Nathan/Liriano/Bonser for Pierzynski fiasco).  Tejada hit .269/.312/.381 last year with an ISO of .112, 8% below the league average for both the Orioles and Padres.  Tejada is only one season removed from a .313/.340/.455, 113 wRC+ performance, and like fellow former Oriole Aubrey Huff, has been back and forth the past couple of years.  Tejada fits the Brian Sabean mold- an aging player that used to be great, that refuses to take walks (dude hasn’t walked in more than 7% of his PA since 2007).  The difference between most of these aging players and Tejada, I hope, is that Miguel might have a little something left in the tank.

CAIRO (v0.1) puts Tejada at a .288/.328/.421 line in 2010 with 33 doubles and 16 homers.  I’m assuming this is either park-neutral or translated to Camden Yards, in which case the translation will most likely put him around 34 doubles and 14 homers.  The initial translated line puts him at around -1 run per 671 plate appearances; translating to AT&T would likely make him around a -3 hitter.  Projections are nothing more than educated guesses, of course, but this looks about right to me (and I’m assuming the Giants expect somewhere around this level of performance as well).  Tejada is downright horrendous at avoiding double plays however, regularly hitting into them around 20% of the time (league average is 10%, mind you).  Dock him about -4 runs for this (based on estimated opportunities) and we’ve got a -7 hitter.  Tejada is good at productive outs, adding about +1 run- so overall, we’re estimating Tejada to produce about -6 runs with the bat.  That’s not bad for a shortstop, and given his durability (+20.6 replacement runs), this is pretty darn good.  All in all, I have Tejada estimated to be a +15 RAR hitter with the bat (and about neutral on the basepaths).  Add in a positional adjustment- with the assumption that he’ll be playing all of his innings at shortstop- there’s an additional +7.1 runs, bringing him up to 22 RAR.  CAIRO has Tejada estimated at -5 runs at shortstop, and, given some scouting reports, this seems like a reasonable estimate.  This brings Tejada back down to +17 RAR, which translates into 1.8 WAR.  Assuming the $WAR figure is somewhere in the ballpark of $4.5MM per Win, this puts Tejada’s estimated monetary value at about $8MM.

Tejada’s set to make $7MM total, so I’m in the ballpark.  As it currently stands, it looks like the Giants are paying Tejada right around his estimated market value.  No complaints here.

As mentioned before, Sabean is pretty hesitant to pull the trigger on a trade- and in the case of Tejada, I think it makes perfect sense.  Marco Scutaro, Jason Bartlett nor JJ Hardy (unless healthy) represent a substantial upgrade over Tejada; certainly not enough to warrant spending $6MM for their salary in addition to shipping off assets for one year of their services.  In terms of free agents, Orlando Cabrera just isn’t very good any more, and the Giants weren’t going to sign Derek Jeter to a lucrative multi-year deal.  Miggy just makes too much sense for the Giants.

I get the feeling that the signing of Tejada and the re-signing of Burrell is likely all we’ll see from the Giants this offseason.

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