Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reaction to the Tejada Trade

National reaction to the Tejada trade has been surprisingly positive, something rare for Baltimore is recent years.

Baseball America sums it up like this:

While the Orioles didn't get a frontline prospect in exchange for the final two years of Tejada's deal, they did add rotation depth, with upside, in the form of Albers and Patton—not to mention an accomplished power bat in Scott.

Not exactly glowing but not bad, right?

Keith Law over at usually savages the Orioles as a hobby but he seems to believe that Baltimore got the better end of the deal. Since it's subscription, here's the meat of the matter:

By acquiring Miguel Tejada, the Astros seem hellbent on trying to contend in 2008, and the Orioles are the happy beneficiaries. In Tejada, Houston gets a good player who's already in decline and [Baltimore] receives a good mix of quantity and quality in return...

Baltimore gets a big haul considering Tejada's declining performance and healthy contract. The two central guys in the deal are the young starting pitchers. Left-hander Troy Patton has been a top Houston prospect for several years, and while his stuff hasn't ticked upward as projected, he has good feel of an arsenal that includes a four-seamer at 88-92 mph, a plus changeup with good arm speed and fading action, and a fringy slider at 80-84 mph that has some tilt but tends to flatten out. He projects as a solid No. 4 starter, although he comes open a bit in his delivery and has had minor shoulder problems on and off as a pro.

Right-hander Matt Albers is the other side of the coin; where Patton has good command of average stuff, Albers has below-average command of good stuff, with two pitches that project as plus -- a fastball at 92-96 mph and a hard curveball in the low 80s with a very sharp break. He lacks a solid third pitch to get lefties out, and his command has a long way to go, but his arm is too good to be included in a big package like this.

Baltimore also picked up three other players, although none figure into the Orioles' long-term plans just yet. Luke Scott, a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder coveted by a number of other clubs to be part of a platoon solution in left or right field; his defense is shaky but he shines against right-handed pitching. Don't be surprised if the Orioles keep him moving in a second deal.

Right-hander Dennis Sarfate has an outstanding arm, with a 95-98 mph fastball and good downhill plane, but his control ranges from bad to horrid, and he's just a good lottery ticket for the Orioles at this point, which makes him a good fourth guy in a deal. Mike Costanzo projects as a quadruple-A player; he has trouble making contact with better stuff and is very rough at third base.

It's hard to make sense of this deal for Houston, a club that continues to act like a contender despite going 73-89 last year with no real reason to expect the in-house personnel to improve.

More to come...


As an aside, The Mitchell Report will be released within the next couple of hours. While I usually don't chase all these PED stories, I find myself distracted waiting for this report to be released. I think it's a really big step to clearing the air even if, as I've said before, I think it'll be 20 years down the line before we get a real good picture of how rampant all of this was.

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