Saturday, August 14, 2010

Miguel Tejada and Everth Cabrera (Two Weeks Later)

In his August 2 FAAB log, Toz wrote:
(Miguel) Tejada is wrapped in steady decline, and is now without an everyday gig in San Diego.  Given the nature of the race in the NL West, I cannot envision the Padres putting him at shortstop to replace Everth Cabrera, and he will not displace Chase Headley at 3B.  Essentially, he has become an 8 AB per week player, and will not have any significant fantasy value.
I'm not a big Tejada fan or anything, but Everth Cabrera hardly has that SS position locked down. His playing time was fairly sparse even before Tejada joined the team. I think Headley has been subpar as well but that's beside the point.
So far, it appears that Nick's assessment was dead on. It has been Tejada - and not Cabrera - getting the lion's share of the playing time.

I would have also assumed that the Padres weren't acquiring Tejada to play second fiddle to Cabrera for two simple reasons:

1) Cabrera has been terrible: While you could make a more-than-fair argument that Cabrera has been the victim of heinous BABIP luck (his 23.4% LD% doesn't compute with his .265 BABIP), his 558 OPS is simply unacceptable for a Major League starter, bad luck or no. If he were a vacuum at SS, I'm sure the Padres might have been more inclined to look the other way, but his RAA fielding this year is 1.9: OK but nowhere near where it needs to be to salvage his job.

2) The Padres aren't a big market team: With approximately a $38 million payroll entering this season, the Padres aren't exactly the New York Yankees. In other words, they're not going to spend lavishly to upgrade their bench. While they're "only" paying $1M of the $2.1M left on Tejada's contract, that still makes up a bigger portion of their payroll than it would for a team like the Yankees.
Another component of the big market/small market equation is the cost of moving prospects. Wynn Pelzer certainly isn't a top prospect, but both Baseball Prospectus and John Sickels had good things to say about him this winter. While Pelzer has definitely slipped based on his performance this year, pitching prospects don't follow the same narrow age-related arc that hitters do; it wouldn't surprise me to see him as a productive member of a Major League bullpen at some point.

In short, while I certainly would have agreed with Toz's assessment about Tejada's decline, I would have agreed with Nick on who was going to play and who wasn't.

It's a cliche, but sometimes way too much information is a bad thing. I get sucked into the Fangraphs mentality so much that it's easy to look at Tejada's awful season and forget that he's on pace to earn $11 in 4x4 Roto. That certainly isn't great, but that puts Tejada 8th among American League third basemen. You need production from all 14 of your hitters (if you can get it) and in an A.L. or N.L.-only league, Miguel Tejada is better than a black hole at 3B...particularly a black hole that isn't playing every day.

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