Big news on this New Year’s Eve.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Royals have signed infielder Miguel Tejada to a minor league contract with a spring training invite. He’ll get $1.1 million if he makes the club. Dave Skretta of the Associated Press was the first to break the news of the signing.
Tejada, 38, batted .259/.325/.296 with zero homers and a .621 OPS in 36 games with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate last season. He had a .239/.270/.326 batting line over 91 games with the Giants during his last stint in the majors in 2011. Chances are he doesn’t have anything left in the tank, but the Royals apparently liked what they saw from him in the Dominican Winter League.
UPDATE: Dionisio Soldevila of the Associated Press was told by Tejada and his agent that it’s a guaranteed deal. Meanwhile, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that he’ll be added to the 40-man roster when the club clears space. This one is officially a head-scratcher.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.