Speculation that Miguel Tejada may be wearing Cardinals’ red in 2010 is over after the veteran signed with Baltimore. Tejada played for the Orioles from 2004-2007. During his four seasons, Tejada hit the ball all over Camden Yards. He hit over .300 in three years and .296 in the other. Miggy also hit his share of homers and drove in plenty of runs for a struggling franchise. Not much has changed for the O’s as they remain cursed in baseball’s best division (See, Yankees, Red Sox, Rays). Maybe Tejada, a fan favorite, can provide a spark in this young ball club that has some talent. Notably, Matt Wieters will be behind the plate for his first full season.
From the Redbirds perspective, Tejada’s signing means the hole at third base still needs to be filled. The hot pick for the hot corner is David Freese. Freese has been in the news following his arrest for drunk driving in December. He has admitted his mistakes and appears to be 100% focused on baseball. This is a one-time incident, and I don’t think it will affect his career from here on out. Freese could be ready to take his game to the next level and join the big league club at third. He has been very good in the minors and enjoyed brief success last season with St. Louis. In 17 games, he hit .323. From 2007-2009, he hit over .300 and showed some power, hitting 17, 26, and 12 home runs, respectively. Defensively, he has been good in the minors as well. Freese may be the best option the Cards have, and the youngster deserves the chance. He could be a solid contributor to a very good team.
If the Cards want more options, some veterans available are Joe Crede, Felipe Lopez, Russell Branyan, and Chad Tracy. Joe Crede is a gritty ballplayer that enjoyed a steady career, mainly with the White Sox. Lopez has bounced around, including a short stint in 2008 with the Cards in which he batted .385. He stayed hot in 2009 for Arizona and Milwaukee, batting .310. He may be the best option for consistent contact off the bench. Branyan is intriguing following a 31-homer season and could really take the already potent middle to another level. But his career has been inconsistent and nothing is guaranteed. Tracy has struggled throughout his career after a hot start to his career.
I like the idea of Lopez or Branyan for different looks off the bench offensively that can also start if Freese struggles. For now, I like Freese to fill the void. Spring Training will provide more answers.