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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.