Miguel Tejada has never played a position other than shortstop in 13 seasons as a major leaguer, but after signing with the Orioles last month he’ll slide to third base this year.
Of course, an MVP shortstop moving to third base is nothing new in Baltimore and Cal Ripken Jr. shared his advice for Tejada with MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko:
The hardest part is reworking the way that you think about the position. At a new position, you have to learn new responsibilities. There is a mental change. The physical change is that the ball comes off the bat at different angles. At shortstop, the ball comes off the bat pretty true. At third base, the ball slices differently off the bat of left-handed hitters and right-handed hitters.
Dad used to say that when a guy moves to a new position, it would take about 100 games to get comfortable, and I found that to be about right. I have no doubt that Miggy will make the adjustment and do really well. I would tell him to be patient and not get discouraged. He will get more comfortable as the season progresses.
Tejada is only signed to a one-year deal, so if it takes him 100 games to get comfortable at third base the Orioles won’t be very happy. However, my guess is that it’ll be Tejada’s offense rather than his defense that will disappoint in 2010.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.