Shortly after hearing from Miguel Tejada on Saturday that he no longer wants to be dealt, Orioles vice president Jim Duquette returned to his phone.
This time he called several teams with which he had had extensive trade talks involving Tejada during the past month.
"I told them that he has rescinded his trade [request] and that we don't have any desire to trade him at this point," Duquette said.
Duquette will make a few more calls in the next day or two to some of the lesser suitors, letting all of baseball know that Tejada is no longer being shopped. That's not to say, however, that the Orioles won't listen to Tejada offers if another club is seriously interested.
"It's difficult to say that he is completely untradable, like it is for any player," Duquette said. "But, put it this way: He is less tradable than other guys. He is not a guy we wanted to trade to begin with, and we are not likely to trade him.
"But I've been around long enough to know not to lock myself into a position by saying someone's totally untouchable."
Duquette said he thought talks had progressed with several teams and that they weren't too far away on those fronts. No deal, though, was in the final stages of completion.
"We had enough proposals sent back and forth that we could have said yes to a proposal and the next step would have been taking it to the ownership level," Duquette said. "But we did not get to that point."
Still, plenty of intriguing names entered the mix. The Philadelphia Phillies offered Bobby Abreu and at least another player; the Chicago Cubs mentioned Mark Prior, Corey Patterson and Rich Hill; the Houston Astros discussed Brad Lidge, Adam Everett and Brandon Backe; and the Detroit Tigers offered Carlos Guillen, as well as a prospect and another major leaguer.
The Orioles also inquired about Houston's Roy Oswalt, the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano, the Boston Red Sox's Jonathan Papelbon and the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins and were rejected. Tejada's declaration Saturday seemingly ends the monthlong odyssey in which the star shortstop continually offered mixed messages. On Dec. 8 he told an Associated Press reporter in the Dominican Republic that he wanted a "change of scenery."
Days later a Comcast SportsNet reporter said Tejada told her he had never asked for a trade. Last week, Tejada told The Sun he still wanted to be moved and that he had never rescinded that request. Then Saturday he informed Duquette via phone that he was embarrassed about his comments and wanted to remain an Oriole. Hours later, Tejada spoke to a Boston Globe reporter in the Dominican Republic and reiterated that he didn't want to be traded, but still criticized the Orioles for not doing enough to improve this offseason.
No matter what he has said, several Orioles questioned during FanFest on Saturday said they would welcome their field leader back with no animosity. And team management said it is not worried about how Tejada will be received.
"I think the clubhouse can be a very forgiving place," said executive vice president Mike Flanagan. "There have been some players' comments that they understand some of his frustration. And, again, the frustration has been the same for us."
Duquette's final dig?
Several days removed from outfielder Jeromy Burnitz's spurning of the club's two-year offer to sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Orioles still harbor hard feelings toward Burnitz's agent, Howard Simon.
Both sides acknowledged last week that they had reached an oral agreement worth $12 million. However, Simon said he backed out of the contract because of medical language, which he called "intimidating and threatening." Meanwhile, the team said Burnitz cited family reasons and a desire to stay in the National League.
"I blame the agent; I don't blame the player," Duquette said. "The player was honest and forthright with us. He told us the reason why he changed his mind. You can debate if it is right to back out [of] a deal or not, but I can at least respect the fact that he is man enough to say, `I am changing my mind because of family reasons.'"
Duquette, who came to the Orioles from the Mets' organization, said his current club's contract is less detailed than what he used in New York. He also presented a copy of the contract to a Major League Baseball official for review and was told that the Orioles' language is "middle of the road" in comparison to that of other clubs.
"I think we are a victim of the fact that [Simon] has only one [client]," Duquette said. "He's had only one player for the length of his career, and he doesn't have a lot of experience dealing with this type of language."
Matos readies for play
Sporting a new hairdo - thin cornrows - and insisting he is unfazed by his murky future as the Orioles' center fielder, Luis Matos welcomed competition for his starting job.