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Rogers - It's easy to see Tejada's view on O's

January 01, 2006

Miguel Tejada makes a good point about the Baltimore Orioles.

They are truly adrift, going nowhere, with no chance to compete at any time in the foreseeable future. That wasn't the picture they sold him when they also added Javy Lopez and Rafael Palmeiro - and almost signed Vladimir Guerrero - for the 2004 season.

Once one of the proudest franchises in the majors, it has had eight consecutive losing seasons, including 4-32 and 25-48 dashes to the finish line in 2002 and 2005. Before this stretch, the Orioles hadn't had more than three losing years in a row since the 1950s.

It speaks well for Tejada that he is dismayed after watching fellow also-rans Toronto and Tampa Bay position themselves better to compete in the top-heavy American League East. A less competitive player - Sammy Sosa, say - would have basked happily in the role of homer-hitting martyr.

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At this point, the Orioles have to do something about Tejada - and it very well might involve the Cubs or the White Sox.

Owner Peter Angelos and his top baseball executive, Mike Flanagan, have three choices: A: Trade Tejada for the best, most advanced talent available to them (for instance, Boston's proposed package built around Manny Ramirez and Matt Clement); B: Trade Tejada and the equally unhappy Lopez for prospects with the idea of trying to compete by 2008; or C: Attempt to mollify Tejada by trading some of their best prospects for pitching help.

The right answer is B, take a few more backward steps with long-range vision. If they did that, they could pressure a team like the Cubs, Red Sox or Los Angeles Angels to make a deal with implications for a decade, maybe more.

What if the Cubs could get Tejada without giving up Mark Prior or Carlos Zambrano? Maybe then general manager Jim Hendry would sacrifice Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Rich Hill and another minor-leaguer or two to make this deal happen.

But having watched attendance at Camden Yards slide by more than 1 million since 1997, it's doubtful Angelos can be patient enough to make the right trade to fit his situation. Expect, within the next week as this situation has come to a head quickly, that the Orioles will select one of the other options.

Something's happening here, probably sooner, not later.

Whispers

The signing of Rondell White won't be popular with Twins fans who had been hoping for a Nomar Garciaparra, Mike Piazza or Frank Thomas. ... The Yankees have added Kyle Farnsworth, Octavio Dotel (who still is recovering from elbow surgery and could be out until June), Michael Myers and Ron Villone to work in front of Mariano Rivera. ... Joe Borowski is likely to be Florida's 2006 closer.

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