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Community Projection Rejection: Miguel Tejada

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1,000 words
1,000 words

Well, say, that didn't work out well.

The idea behind Miguel Tejada wasn't a bad one. Really, I don't mind the idea. Sure, with the benefit of hindsight, I would have rather had the Giants done something more productive with the $6 million, like put it in the bank for the 2011/2012 offseason, give it to Andres Torres as a holiday bonus, or dump it out the window of a Greyhound bus passing through Yuba City. But things were different back then.

Aubrey Huff was still Wow He's Good! Aubrey Huff, and Torres was still a genetically enhanced Kenny Lofton. Pat Burrell was a legitimate middle-of-the-order hitter. Freddy Sanchez almost seemed like a guy with a functional body. Buster Posey had all sorts of working limbs. Brandon Belt had a great chance to make the team and get all sorts of playing time. All that was missing -- and how -- was a shortstop. Tejada was one of the only guys with a sliver of a speck of an iota of a shot at hitting just a little bit. The Giants took a shot.

Good for them for taking a shot! Unfortunately, it was a Mythbusters kind of shot, and it tore through several houses in the Bay Area before almost killing a kid at a park. Still, not the worst idea. You know what's worse than following a team that gambled $6 million on Miguel Tejada and lost? Following a team that can't afford both Mike Fontenot and Jeff Keppinger, making sure that everyone in the world knows it.

Tejada did not make the All-Star team last year:

Projected

AB: 421
AVG: .254
OBP: .299
SLG: .381
HR: 11

Actual

AB: 322
AVG: .239
OBP: .270
SLG: .326
HR: 4

I remember writing that projection, wrinkling my nose, and thinking about how wrong I hoped I was. Turns out I was wrong -- he was even worse. It was spectacular. I get that he was old and creaky, and that he was always a swing-first hacker, but the power was the surprise. Gone. Poof. Tied with Mike Fontenot and Eli Whiteside for home runs on the season.

But here's a fun fact: Giants shortstops as a group hit .210/.265/.299 on the season. Tejada brought those averages up. Tejada was the leader of the three Giants shortstops in 2011. His .225/.253/.324 line as a shortstop was as good as it was going to get. And, in fact, it got much worse. Also, I have a real screwed-up, Batman-villain definition of what constitutes a fun fact. Your definition of fun fact may vary.

And here they are again, $6 million and Thomas Neal poorer, still without a shortstop. It's almost certainly going to be the least-productive lineup spot again this year, though there's at least a chance for some good defense now. I might be a little hard on Brandon Crawford, but if he's going to come in under a .600 OPS like Tejada did last year, at least he'll do it fielding like a major-league shortstop. Bay City Ball has a great post about just how poorly Crawford can hit while still being tolerable. It's actually sort of encouraging, in a way.

My preference would have been the deal that the Brewers gave Alex Gonzalez. Heck, if they aren't going to spend it this year, it might as well go to a Crawford-type with the potential to run into 15 homers. But that would have been using the same logic as the Tejada signing -- throw some money at a wall, and hope a player outhits his projections. It probably would have ended just as messily.

Over the last three years, the Giants spent $24 million on shortstops, and all they got were some .300-or-worse OBPs and poor range. They should probably stop doing that. And, heck, they did. Maybe it's time to give them a little credit for not jamming the same square peg into the same round hole. Brandon Crawford might struggle offensively this year, but he'll be a heckuva lot easier to watch than Tejada was.