Phils Pursuing Miguel Tejada

For some time now, it looked like the Orioles and Red Sox would be perfect trade partners with Manny Ramirez and Miguel Tejada switching cities. That deal is either close to done or has completely fallen apart depending who you listen to. Meanwhile, is reporting that the Phillies could jump into the discussions with Baltimore.

Miguel Tejada has been rumored to be leaving Baltimore just as he requested. Bobby Abreu hasn't requested to leave Philly, but his name keeps popping up in various situations. Now, says the two names are being talked about in a potential deal for one another.

The report has the Orioles asking for pitching help in addition to Abreu and both sides have explored the idea of expanding the deal to include other players. The O's had reportedly made the same request of the Red Sox when a simple Manny Ramirez for Miguel Tejada deal seemed possible. Boston gave in and was reportedly willing to include Matt Clement, but the Orioles haven't jumped at that proposed deal. The latest rumor says that the Phillies may have something that the Red Sox couldn't provide in a deal with the Orioles and that is the fact that the Phillies aren't in the same division as Baltimore. The Orioles have been reluctant to trade with Boston fearing making a blockbuster move with another AL East team. Abreu would also be cheaper than Ramirez, giving Baltimore some financial relief in the deal.

The Cubs had talked with Baltimore about a deal that would send Mark Prior to Baltimore for Tejada, but the two teams haven't been able to finish off that proposed deal. Other clubs have sort of hung around the fringes during the off-season, looking for a way to deal with the Orioles to bring Tejada to their club. Reportedly, the Cubs and Phillies are the only National League clubs pursuing Tejada.

As for the Phillies supposed interest in Tejada, the rumor has it that the Phillies could then send Tejada elsewhere to acquire pitching help. In other words, the Cubs and Phillies could then do the Prior-for-Tejada deal that the Cubs are interested in making. If Tejada were to stay in Philadelphia, he would move to third base, ala Alex Rodriguez when he was dealt to the Yankees. That would leave David Bell without a job and increase the potential that he would be traded elsewhere, as has also been rumored. Tejada has not played anywhere other than shortstop during his career and it's not clear if he would welcome a change of position. It's likely that the Phillies would have an opportunity to talk to him before the trade would be completed to get his thoughts on the change. Otherwise, the Phillies could find themselves in a situation like the Washington Nationals are currently in after acquiring Alfonso Soriano from Texas and planning on moving him to the outfield.

Tejada is owed $48 million over the next four seasons, while Abreu is owed $31.5 million over two years, with an option year for 2008 at $16 million. Of the guaranteed money that Abreu has coming, $2.5 million of that is a buyout on the option year, meaning he would be paid $45.0 million over three years. Abreu and Tejada both have no-trade clauses in their contract and it's possible that Abreu may require the Orioles to guarantee his 2008 salary as a condition of accepting the deal.

To complicate matters, Ramirez told ESPN Desportes that he "will be staying in Boston." Ramirez' agent said he spoke with his client about the comment and that Ramirez claimed he didn't say that. Ramirez too has a no-trade clause. Another complication for the teams to consider is that since all of these players - Abreu, Ramirez and Tejada - are in the middle of multi-year contracts, they would have the right to demand a trade after the 2006 season if they aren't happy with their new club. The Diamondbacks faced that situation this winter with Javier Vazquez, who demanded a trade after this past season.

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