Two years since requesting a trade to a contender, Miguel Tejada is heading to a new organization. The Houston Astros may not be the contender he desired to play for, but they were willing to part with five young players to acquire the rights to Tejada and the $26 million he is owed over the next two years.
Listed below are the players the Orioles have acquired:
Never a favorite of scouts, Scott was old for every level of play in the minors and never really earned the respect of a top prospect. In the past two years, the 29 year old has proven to be a solid regular in an outfield corner by hitting a combined .273/.366/.516 with 28 homeruns in 663 at bats. He's a left-handed hitter, but he doesn't need to be platooned. He's a below-average runner with below-average arm strength, though he's a solid defender in left field, where he figures to take over for the Orioles in 2008.
The 22 year old southpaw has long ranked among the Astros' top prospects. Patton throws a four-seam fatsball that can touch 94 MPH and a high-80's two-seamer that features plenty of sink. He also has an improving slider and a solid changeup. He spent most of 2007 in double-A, posting a 2.99 ERA, but with a mediocre 6.0 K/9. He could stand to add a bit of bulk to his frame, but Patton is universally praised for his makeup and pitchability. He projects as a #3 or #4 in a good rotation and should see some time in Baltimore in 2008.
The 24 year old right-hander emerged as a member of the Astros rotation after a deliberate climb through the minor leagues. He sits in the low-90's with his fastball but has been clocked as high as 96 MPH. He has an average hard breaking ball and a usable changeup that continues to improve. He has a similar ceiling as Patton as a mid-rotation starter and will be in the mix to fill out Baltimore's rotation in 2008.
Costanzo is seeing his third organization this off-season. He's a three true outcomes player with huge raw power, patience, and high strikeout totals from the left side. He'll never hit for much of an average but he may be able to compensate with his secondary skills. Historically, he has had trouble with fellow southpaws, but he performed better against them in 2007. He's a below-average defender at third base and may face a move to first base, where the pressure on his bat will be even greater. Costanzo needs another season in the minors and will head to triple-A Norfolk to start 2008. His upside is as a solid regular, but he may end up being a platoon player who can sub in at the corners. Costanzo is behind Scott Moore on the organizational depth chart, but he has the potential to challenge him for the role of third baseman of the future.
Sarfate is a big-bodied right-hander who climbed the Brewers system as a starter. He had elbow surgery in 2002 and, combined with concerns about his effectiveness as a starter, he has been shifted to a relief role. He throws mid-90's fastball and a solid slider, but he has never developed a good changeup. He's a durable reliever who can handle multiple innings and he only has to tighten his command to be fully ready for the major leagues. At 26 years old and without many roadblocks in Baltimore, Sarfate could get a clean shot at a job in 2008. His ceiling is as a high-leverage reliever who strikes out more than a batter an inning.
Although the Orioles failed to get any can't-miss types in this deal, they did get five very useful pieces. Scott and Albers should feature prominently on the 2008 Orioles and some would argue that Patton is the most promising player in the deal. Andy MacPhail was purposefully deliberate in his approach to trading Miguel Tejada, even if everyone in baseball knew it was coming. Without any teams offering potential future all-stars in return for the former MVP, he opted to take several players with moderate upside and improve the depth within the organization. The 2008 Orioles are worse off for this trade, though probably not as much as many fans suspect. The Orioles teams of 2010 and beyond, however, are clearly improved.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com