Miguel Tejada is headed back to Baltimore.
The six-time All-Star has agreed on a one-year deal with the Orioles.
The deal, which is currently pending a physical, was confirmed by Tejada during a phone interview with the Associated Press on Saturday.
“I’ve reached a deal for one season and $6 million,” Tejada said. “I know it’s less than what I made last year, but the market has changed and I feel happy to be able to play in the major leagues.”
Tejada, 35, made more than $14 million last season with the Houston Astros. It was the final year of a six-year, $72 million contract that Tejada signed with the Orioles prior to the 2004 season.
When Tejada signed his original deal with Baltimore he was one year removed from winning the American League MVP with the Oakland Athletics and he was regarded as one of the best shortstops in the game.
A lot has changed in the six years since Tejada inked that deal.
Tejada has lost much of his power and his range at shortstop has deteriorated to the point that he’ll be shifting to third base for his second tour of duty with the Orioles.
Additionally, Tejada has endured a number of blows off the field as well.
Just days after being traded to Houston prior to the 2008 season Tejada was named in the infamous Mitchell Report.
In April 2008, he admitted that he’d lied about his age and was actually two years older than he’d claimed.
And finally, last March, Tejada was sentenced to one year of probation for misleading Congress.
All the while, Tejada didn’t let the off-field issues impact his play on the diamond.
In two seasons with the Astros, Tejada hit a combined .298/.327/.435 and made two All-Star teams.
Tejada proved last season that despite diminished power he can still hit at a pretty solid clip. His .313/.340/.455 batting line came with 14 home runs, 86 RBI and a league-best 46 doubles in 158 games last season.
The Orioles hope to get similar production from the veteran who will be replacing the departed Melvin Mora at the hot corner, a career move that Tejada seems excited to tackle.
“I’ll play in third base, which means a change in my career,” Tejada said. “It’s like the beginning of a new career, but I’ll continue doing my same workout routine to be able continue my career.”
Tejada figures to fit nicely into a lineup that includes burgeoning young stars Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold, and Matt Wieters; in addition to veteran talents such as Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, and the recently-signed Garrett Atkins.
Surprisingly, interest in Tejada was tepid, at best, this offseason.
The Athletics, Cardinals, Giants, Rockies, and Twins were all linked to Tejada at some point in recent weeks. Nothing ever materialized as Tejada seemed to be everyone’s backup plan.
That’s how the Orioles, who admittedly didn’t expect Tejada to be around this late, were reportedly the only club to make an official offer for his services.
If Tejada is able to match last year’s production at a value price of $6 million there’s no doubt that all of his other suitors will regret not making a more serious play for Tejada.