San Francisco officially parted ways with Miguel Tejada yesterday, releasing the veteran infielder with a month remaining on his one-year, $6.5 million contract.
Tejada more than earned the release by playing horrible defense and hitting .239 with a .596 OPS, and then for good measure he publicly complained about being asked to lay down a sacrifice bunt.
However, today Tejada told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he plans to play in 2012, saying: “I will not retire.”
Here’s more from the 37-year-old former MVP:
I didn’t have a good time in San Francisco, but there are always highs and lows in life. I will play winter ball with the Aguilas Cibaenas as part of the process of staying active. In the winter I will work to return. It’s not the first time that a player has a bad year and then comes back.
True, but not many players have a .596 OPS at age 37 and go on to be anything but terrible. In fact, not many 37-year-old infielders post a sub-.600 OPS, period. The last one do so with at least 300 plate appearances was Frank White way back in 1988. He went on to play two more seasons as a part-timer for the Royals, hitting .241 with a .608 OPS.
Brian Sabean gave him $6.5 million six months ago, so I suppose anything is possible, but it’ll be surprising if Tejada manages more than a one-year, $1 million deal as a free agent this time around and he may have to settle for a minor-league contract.
With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.
Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.
All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.
For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.
But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: