A-Rod Fallout

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Alex Rodriguez may have to withdraw from the WBC due to a hip injury.

You never like to see such a high-profile player go down to injury, but my thoughts immediately turned in a different direction than most people’s.

If Alex Rodriguez misses the WBC, does this make Miguel Tejada the Dominican Republic’s starting third baseman?

Miguel Tejada 2.jpgTejada withdrew from the Classic after hearing a rumor that he was going to be used primarily as a first baseman.  Then, with manager Felipe Alou’s eventual assurance that he would play shortstop, third base, and DH, he changed his mind and joined the team.

With Rodriguez in the lineup at third, and Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, it wasn’t immediately clear how much playing time Tejada would get in the infield.  Now, that’s all changed.

Barring whomever would replace A-Rod on the roster, the only other third baseman currently with the team is Willy Aybar.  Given that option, it seems reasonable to assume that Tejada would become the starting third baseman.

And that, as far as I’m concerned, is a problem for the Houston Astros.

Carlos Lee.jpgI’m generally pro-WBC.  I don’t mind players taking the added injury risk to play for their countries.  LaTroy Hawkins, Roy Oswalt, and Carlos Lee are all involved in the classic, and bully for them.  These are three guys who performed for the Astros last year.  They did exactly the job they were asked to do, and they did it well.

But Tejada’s short tenure with the Astros has been tumultuous, at best.  First, he was caught lying about his age.  Then, he suffered a mid-season slump that hurt the team in a bad way.  Next, he was indicted for lying to federal investigators.  Then came the WBC.

Simply put, I feel pretty strongly that Miguel should be in camp.  He should be getting reps as a shortstop.  He should be preparing himself to earn the money he’s getting paid – an albatross contract, signed under false pretenses regarding his age.  That contract, and the five players we gave up to get Tejada from the Orioles, could be singled out as the single-largest reason the Astros were unable to make a move of any merit this offseason.

The news that he may get significant playing time at another position doesn’t sit well with me.

Tommy Manzella 2.jpgOf course, there is another option, given the Astros’ holes at third base.  If Tejada shows himself to be a competent third baseman, perhaps Coop may consider moving him there permanently, and allowing either Tommy Manzella or Drew Sutton to play shortstop, assuming Chris Johnson is sent to AAA at the end of Spring Training.

Knowing Cooper, that seems unlikely, but it is a possibility.  Tejada’s still a better-fielding shortstop than he gets credit for (he had a 4.01 RFg in 2008, six points above adjusted league average), but he is aging (three years more quickly than we’d realized.)

In other news, Roy Oswalt will be on The Late Show With David Letterman tomorrow (Thursday) night for the Top 10 list: “Reasons To Watch The World Baseball Classic.”


  1. juliasrants

    I can see your concern. The WBC is a mixed blessing. There is no good time to have it and certainly some of those players would be better served by being in camp. I also find it odd – if over the weekend the Yankees discovered this problem, why did they let him play with the Dominican team on Tuesday? Strange.


  2. raysrenegade

    Aybar is actually being brought on to play first base since Carlos Pena and Albert Pujols are not going to participate in the WBC. Third base might be a lonely place with Tejada getting most of the starts.

    By the way, watching the Rays vs Astros game yesterday, you guys have a non-roster invitee named Bud Norris taking the mound for your team out of the Bullpen. This guy is the real deal, and he had an awesome showing against the Rays yesterday when the Astros needed some shutdown innings. He went two inning yesterday and probably only threw 15 or so pitches to shut down Tampa Bay.

    You guys need to find a roster spot for this guy………pronto.

    Rays Renegade


  3. renaudtn

    good point on Tejada. I like the guy but I am also upset about how much we gave up for him: he’s not worth that much money and certainly not 5 of our prospects! Way to shoot yourself in the foot! Anyhow, as long as he doesn’t hurt himself, I don’t think playing third will mess him up at shortstop during the regular season. I can definitely see a platoon of Blum/Johnson at third this year! (not Boone please)
    raysrenegade: Norris is our best pitching prospect right now…he did well yesterday; let’s see how he does next time on the mound.

  4. roundrock15

    RR – Yes, Bud Norris is probably our top pitching prospect at the moment. Management is very big on him, and he has looked very good so far this Spring. He’s got a lot of flexibility, too, in that he can be a starter or a rotation guy. A lot of folks think he should be the set-up guy for Valverde.

    RenaudTN – I don’t think Boone is going to make the team. And as much as I’d love to see CJ at third, I would like to see him start at AAA and see if he continues to roll, similar to the way we handled Pence’s call-up. Meanwhile, Blum can hold it down until Johnson is ready, but once he’s ready he needs to play every day.

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