On the heels of manager Tony La Russa saying last week that the Cardinals need to find a big bat to hit behind Albert Pujols, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team is interested in Miguel Tejada.
Tejada would be an interesting pickup on a few different levels. First
and foremost he’s leading the league with a .355 batting average and
hitting .355/.378/.521 overall, so that would seemingly fit La Russa’s
description of a big bat even if the 35-year-old is highly unlikely to
keep up that type of production.
Guys like Matt Holliday have also been linked to St. Louis recently,
but the Cardinals have received little production from the left side of
the infield and finding a hitter like Tejada who can man shortstop or
third base would allow them to keep their better-hitting outfielders in
the lineup as well.
With that said, Tejada to the Cardinals isn’t quite a perfect fit.
For one thing, Khalil Greene is making his way back from anxiety
problems and should be ready to rejoin the team soon. Plus, Tejada’s
defense at shortstop has declined to the point that he’s somewhere
between “solidly below average for the position” and “terrible.”
If he’d be willing to slide over to third base the Cardinals could
replace the unproductive Joe Thurston-Brian Barden-Tyler Greene platoon
without further weakening their up-the-middle defense, but Tejada has
never played even one inning at a position other than shortstop during
13 seasons in the big leagues and may not want to make the move with
free agency looming.
And last but not least, while the financially strapped Astros would
no doubt like to shed the $8 million or so that Tejada is owed for the
remainder of the season, the team’s management is still clinging to the notion that they can contend and even if that stance changes they may not be willing to help out a division rival.