Tejada to Astros: Intriguing for Fantasy Leaguers?

by Fraser Lovat on December 12, 2007 @ 00:58:51 PDT


The Houston Astros have acquired shortstop Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for outfielder Luke Scott, starting pitcher Matt Albers, starting pitcher Troy Patton, pitcher Dennis Sarfate and third baseman Mike Costanzo.

Tejada hit .296 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI in 133 games with the Orioles in 2007. In his 11-year career he has a .287 average, 258 home runs and 1,033 RBI. He will be joining an Astros team that won 73 games last year and finished fourth in the NL Central. The former MVP played in 619 of the 648 possible games in four seasons with the O's. There was speculation Tejada may have been traded before the trade deadline last year, but a wrist injury ended all of that talk.

Tejada might seem to gain a little more fantasy value by heading to the hitter-friendly venue Minute Maid Park. However, he joins a team that scored 723 runs, the seventh fewest total in the majors. Baltimore, in contrast, ranked 16th, with 756 runs. Tejada's power has been on the decline for the past few seasons. In 2002 and 2004, he posted 34 home runs, a career high. However, he hit 27 in 2003, his final season with the Oakland Athletics. He also hit 26 in 2005, 24 in 2006 and, finally, the 18 in 133 games in 2007. He does give the Astros another solid bat to team with that of outfielder Carlos Lee and first baseman Lance Berkman, in addition to the wood wielded by impressive rookie outfielder Hunter Pence. Tejada hasn't enjoyed that kind of company in a lineup since his days with the A's.

The O's received five players in return for the All-Star shortstop. Scott has played in 231 games in his career. In that time, he has a .273 average, 28 home runs and 105 RBI. He played in 132 games with the Astros last season and hit .255 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI. He's a spunky player that, at best, is an average starting outfielder in the American League East. He may end up being a platoon player in Baltimore, a team that has had some trouble finding full-timers in the outfield. He likely isn't on the fantasy radar, for now.

Starting pitcher Matt Albers made his debut in the 2006 season. He has pitched in 35 games in the majors; he has four wins and 13 losses in those appearances. Albers has a 5.87 career ERA and 82 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings to his credit. He made most of his appearance with the Astros this past season, when he went 4-11 with a 5.86 ERA in 31 games, including 18 starts.

Sarfate, 26, is a right-handed pitcher that made his MLB debut in 2006. He has appeared in 15 games in the majors and has a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA and 25 strikeouts. He could be a solid addition to Baltimore's bullpen, but he has no fantasy relevance.

Patton, considered the Astros' third best prospect heading into 2008 by Baseball America, is a young pitching prospect and was drafted by the Astros in 2004. He is a left-handed pitcher and was a first-team High School All-American in 2004. He has appeared in three games (two starts) as a major leaguer, going 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA and eight strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings with the Astros. He has also appeared in 82 minor league games. Patton has a 2.99 ERA and 396 strikeouts in his minor league appearances. He doesn't throw extremely hard, but his fastball is known to hit the low 90s. Unfortunately, he has experienced shoulder issues in each of the past three years, including last year, after his big-league call-up. He's an intriguing prospect, but he heads to the AL East, where some of the top offenses - specifically, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox - reside. That doesn't bode well for his early 2008 fantasy prospects, should he be a candidate to make Baltimore's opening day rotation.

Costanzo is a third baseman that played his college ball at Coastal Carolina. He was drafted in the second round (65th overall) in the 2005 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was named the Big South Conference Player of the Year in 2004. Costanzo has 345 minor league games under his belt. He hit .266 with 52 home runs and 217 RBIs in those games. Baseball America ranked him sixth among Houston's prospects. Earlier this offseason, he was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a package in the trade of closer Brad Lidge. He has a lot of home run power and is willing to take a walk, but in his professional career he has also struck out a ton - 379 times in 345 games. He gives the Orioles a player at third base with potential, but his path could be blocked by third baseman Melvin Mora, who received a contract extension this past season. Baltimore doesn't appear to be opposed to trading Mora, either, however. In addition, some believe that Costanzo should move to first base, where the Orioles may not have any long-term solutions. Nevertheless, right now, Costanzo is little more than a fantasy player to keep an eye on down the road.

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About Fraser Lovat

Fraser is a Hot off the Wire Analyst with KFFL and has been with the company since 2007.

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