Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cutting Tejada "tough, necessary"

So says Richard Justice:

Tejada is going to be the toughest decision the Astros make this off-season. I really, really wanted to dislike the guy because of his connection to performance-enhancing drugs and his lying to Congress and all the rest.

I just can't do it. He has been an absolute perfect teammate and leader. Any club that has Miguel Tejada is a lucky club...

... Numbers say allowing Tejada to leave isn't a tough call. He's 35 years old and declining both offensively and defensively.

His home run Saturday night was his first in 121 at-bats and just his 11th of the season. The Astros are a power-starved team. Only three NL teams have hit fewer. They're in the top five in home runs at only two positions — left field and right field. They're fourth at both spots.

Tejada is hitting .208 since August 12. Yet in terms of leadership and enthusiasm, in ways teammates are measured apart from their own production, the Astros don't have a better player.

Tejada might be the most popular man in their clubhouse and maybe the most respected. But the Astros are going to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year, and they're determined to begin the transition to a younger team.

A couple of things about this. If you don't have power, you need to have speed and defense to make up for it. Tejada doesn't have any of the three, so unless he's willing to play for $2-4 million, that's a different story. Chemistry may be overrated, but speed and defense is not.