As the St. Louis Cardinals eye the approaching season as perhaps Albert Pujols' last, finding complementary players to surround Pujols on a quest for a World Series is paramount.
The club intends to improve two of the three infield spots of second, short and third and are eyeing Miguel Tejada as a possible solution as the Chicago Tribune reports.
Tejada, who split 2010 between the Orioles as a third baseman and Padres as a shortstop, could fill either position for St. Louis. If he was to go to the Gateway City, the Cards would be able to put third baseman David Freese and shortstop Brendan Ryan in a spring training battle on who wins their respective position and slot Tejada in the other.
Tejada had his problems in Baltimore, struggling to a .269/.308/.362 line in 401 at-bats and strugglng in an adjustment to third. However, for the Pads and a severe pitcher's park, he was able to hit .268/.317/.413 in 235 AB and showing he can still pick it at short.
While Tejada playing third would allow the Cardinals to go with defensive guru Brendan Ryan at short, Ryan struggled to a pathetic .223/.279/.294 line 496 plate appearances. A combined OPS under .600 with that many trips to the plate can't be handed a starting job, even if coming off a .292/.340/.400 line in 2009.
St. Louis does have David Freese, who was a 27-year-old rookie and looked like he could be a big part of the team in 2010 by going .296/.361/.404 in 270 plate appearances, but an injury cut his season short. He appears better suited to come off the bench, so the club will have to speak to Tejada before signing him and determine if the 2002 MVP would be willing to play at third again.
St. Louis will have competition for Tejada, as it is known the Padres are interested in bringing him back to the team. It may have seemed unfathomable at the trade deadline, but Miggy is back in demand.
-- Evan Brunell
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