Monday, July 31, 2006
Updated: August 1, 9:31 AM ET
O's lack of moves leaves Tejada happy, Lopez upset
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles failed to make a deal before the non-waiver trade deadline Monday, leaving Miguel Tejada delighted and Javy Lopez exasperated.
The Orioles listened to several offers for Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP and the team leader in batting average (.330), homers (19) and RBI (77). But no one came up with a proposition that served as a better option than keeping their All-Star shortstop.
"It was our obligation to listen to proposals, and there were many and varied," executive vice president Mike Flanagan said. "We never felt that there was any strong enough that [garnered] consideration to take to the owner."
That was just fine with Tejada, who asked to be traded during the offseason but decided in February that he wanted to stay in Baltimore. He reiterated that stance over the weekend but spent some anxious moments before the 4 p.m. deadline.
"I didn't sleep pretty good last night, just because I was thinking that yesterday could've been my last game here," he said. "What can I do? I woke up early today in the morning and make a phone call to my agent to see if anything happened.
"I'm an Oriole. I can be an Oriole. I told them before that I don't want to go anywhere. If I'm going to win, I want to win here," said Tejada, who is signed through 2009. "Now they show me they really want to win. They kept me here."
Lopez, conversely, wanted out of Baltimore. He was displaced as the starting catcher by Ramon Hernandez at spring training and recently lost his job as designated hitter to Jay Gibbons, which means won't be getting much playing time in the foreseeable future.
"I've got no position on this team. I don't see why they really need me," Lopez said. "I'm not meant to play once a week. ... I cannot be happy in this situation. They probably have their plan, and I don't think they're going to keep me like this until the end of the season. They're probably going to do something sooner or later."
Lopez thinks he would be better off if the Orioles released him.
"That would be a better option for me, since I didn't get traded. I don't want to get released -- I'm just saying it would make more sense," he said. "The last thing I want to do here is not even play."
Tejada, on the other hand, has not missed a game since signing a six-year contract in December 2003. The thought of not having his cleanup hitter in the lineup was unsettling to manager Sam Perlozzo.
"If you've been watching Miggy the past month, this guy has been playing lights-out and been a tremendous help to us," Perlozzo said. "I'm trying to figure out what you'd do without him. That's a pretty big void to fill."
When it came down to it, that's exactly how Flanagan and vice president Jim Duquette felt after fielding phone calls from around the league.
"The bottom line of this all is that from the beginning we have said that Miguel Tejada is a very important player for us," Flanagan said. "He is the centerpiece."
Flanagan and Duquette said they tried to make several deals, including some involving Lopez. But in the end, nothing happened.
"I don't think it's frustrating. I think we were probably a little surprised," Duquette said. "For the volume of calls we had and made, I am surprised that we didn't do something. But it doesn't mean that we can't do something after the waiver deadline."
Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora was happy to see the team remain intact -- especially at shortstop.
"You trade that guy, how are you going to win without him? You see how he plays, you see the numbers he puts up," Mora said. "We just need to work with what we've got here."
The Orioles did make one transaction Monday: Left-handed reliever Kurt Burkins was put on the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow, and right-hander Julio Manon was recalled from Triple-A Ottawa to replace him in the bullpen.