Cal Ripken Jr. has advice for Miguel Tejada

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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.

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.