by John Viril—
As desperate as it seems, 39-year-old Miguel Tejada is the Kansas City Royals best option at 2nd base. The Royals can prevent runs. They can pitch and field with the best teams in the league. What they can’t do is hit. Second base is a black hole that sucks runs (and life) from the lineup. Tejada is the only middle-infielder on the current roster that brings even a semblance of offense.
If the front office either refuses—or fails—to bring in help at 2nd base, Tejada needs to play every day.
Yeah, I know. Tejada has played sparingly for good reason. Tejada did not even win a major league job in 2012. The last year he held down a starting gig in the majors was 2010—and then he finished with a below league-average OPS+ of 83. His last “good” year in MLB came four years ago at age 35. The fear is that too much playing time will expose his aging body to wear and tear. Tejada’s performance is all too likely to degrade over time.
However, right now, the Royals are in a make-or-break stretch run. With 61 games left in the season, they need to either gain 7 games on division-leading Detroit or the 6 games they trail Baltimore for the 2nd wild-card spot. There are 5 teams with better records chasing the two-wild cards. Kansas City also trails Cleveland by 3 games in the Central Division in addition to Detroit. Manager Ned Yost needs to do everything and anything he can to squeeze more performance from his anemic offense (13th in runs scored in the A.L.).
Now is the time to saddle up Miguel Tejada and ask if he has one last charge left in him. Tejada was once a great player. He won an MVP. He played in 6 All-Star games—the last in 2009. He was part of a Dominican Republic team that won this season’s World Baseball Classic fueled by emotion more than talent. Manager Ned Yost should pencil Tejada in the lineup from now until the season’s end and hope he holds together. Maybe will, desire, and adrenline can overcome reality for two months.
Miguel Tejada needs to get “up” one last time.