Orioles still in Tejada trade talks

Sources: Cubs offering Prior, but O's wary of injury-prone starter

December 23, 2005|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

The Orioles remain in trade talks with several teams about Miguel Tejada, but as of now, no team has matched the club's asking price for the disgruntled All-Star shortstop.

According to team and industry sources, the most serious discussions the Orioles are having about Tejada appear to be with the Chicago Cubs, who are dangling a package that includes standout right-handed pitcher Mark Prior.

According to industry sources, however, the Cubs want Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard included in the deal and don't want to trade top outfield prospect Felix Pie, whom the Orioles covet. The Orioles also are slightly wary of Prior's recent history of elbow troubles and would prefer obtaining Carlos Zambrano, but the Cubs reportedly have no interest in trading him.

As of now, according to a source with knowledge of the trade talks, the two teams are not yet close to an agreement despite several proposals being sent back and forth. Cubs second baseman Todd Walker, center fielder Corey Patterson and 25-year-old left-handed pitching prospect Rich Hill have also been mentioned in a deal, but the Orioles aren't enthralled with Walker or Patterson.

Walker would essentially be a bench player with All-Star Brian Roberts entrenched at second base, and Patterson struggled mightily last season and would not seem to constitute that big of an upgrade over Luis Matos, whose status as the Orioles' everyday center fielder is in jeopardy.

The Orioles and Cubs have been in discussions for several weeks and have even gotten several teams involved in the trade talks. According to two industry sources, there was some preliminary discussion between the Orioles, Cubs and Oakland Athletics on a three-way deal that included Tejada, Bedard, Prior and Oakland ace Barry Zito among others heading to new homes. Prior and Zito were the centerpieces of the package coming to the Orioles in the early talks.

But at this point, the A's asking price for Zito appears to be sky-high, and the Orioles wouldn't be interested in obtaining the left-hander in a deal unless they can sign him - this is his contract year - to a long-term deal and that appears unlikely.

The Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels also reportedly have interest in Tejada, though to this point, none has come close to matching the Orioles' asking price. The Orioles have no interest in trading Tejada within the division to the Red Sox, but it is not impossible, according to a team source, that the club could get Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez in a three- or four-team deal without trading Tejada to Boston.

The Orioles are interested in White Sox right-hander Jon Garland, who is a free agent after this season, and had some talks with Chicago last week in a deal that didn't include Tejada, according to industry sources. However, the White Sox wanted Bedard, instead of pitching prospects in the deal, and the Orioles balked.

Despite telling several teammates, including Brian Roberts and Ramon Hernandez, that his public demand for a "change of scenery" earlier this month was said out of frustration and he didn't want to leave Baltimore, Tejada's representation has told the Orioles recently that the former MVP still wants a trade.

The Orioles clearly want to keep the shortstop but seem to be at least willing to deal him if the price is right. However as of now, it appears that Tejada will remain an Oriole at least through Christmas.jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this story

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.