Miguel Tejada got his wish - albeit a couple of years later than he wanted.
Tejada was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros for five players yesterday, giving the 2002 AL MVP a fresh start on a team looking to boost its lineup.
The Orioles got outfielder Luke Scott, pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton, and Dennis Sarfate, and third baseman Michael Costanzo for the four-time All-Star shortstop.
Two winters ago, Tejada caused a stir in Baltimore when he said he was unhappy with the Orioles' direction and wanted to be traded. He later backed off that stance.
"I feel very happy with this trade, because it's something that I've been really looking forward to," Tejada told the Associated Press by telephone from Miami.
Houston general manager Ed Wade said the Astros couldn't pass up the opportunity to add Tejada.
"The reality is when you are talking about a player of this magnitude, you have to go in with every expectation that the asking price is going to be very high and if you want to participate, it's going to be tough," he said.
Tejada, 31, hit .296 with 18 home runs and 81 RBIs last season. In 11 seasons, he has hit .287 with 258 home runs and 1,033 RBIs. His home run total ranks him fourth all-time among shortstops.
"This is a big day for us. We got a big bat to our lineup," Wade said.
The 2002 AL MVP with Oakland is owed $13 million in each of the next two years, the final seasons of a $72 million, six-year contract.
Rowand to GiantsAaron Rowand agreed to a $60 million, five-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, giving the club a Gold Glove center fielder without having to trade young pitchers Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum.
The 30-year-old Rowand is expected to bat fifth for San Francisco after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. Before that, he helped the Chicago White Sox win the 2005 World Series.
"Bottom line, I wanted to get in a spot where I would be long term," said Rowand, who noted he weighed four or five similar multiyear offers.
"In this day of free agency, that's not commonplace. That's really the thing I was looking forward to most."
He is coming off his best season yet, earning his first Gold Glove award and All-Star selection while helping the Phillies to the NL East title. Rowand batted .309 with 27 home runs and career bests of 89 RBIs, 105 runs, 189 hits, and 45 doubles in 161 games.
While manager Bruce Bochy had said Rajai Davis would get a chance to earn the center-field job in spring training, Rowand was brought in to provide a consistent, hard-nosed presence at that position. That means Dave Roberts likely will shift from center to left, replacing departed home run king Barry Bonds. Randy Winn will stay in right while Davis and some of the other young outfielders share time in a reserve role.
Peavy wraps up dealWhen Jake Peavy said it wasn't about the money, he meant it. After all, the Cy Young Award winner could have played out his contract with the San Diego Padres and gotten big money elsewhere as a free agent.
As it is, the $52 million, three-year extension Peavy signed is the biggest deal in Padres history.
"I really have tried my best to stay away from the money issue because a lot of people in Semmes, Ala., can't count that high," Peavy cracked at a news conference. "That's not saying that in an arrogant way at all. I mean, when people in Semmes see the kind of money we're talking about, they don't understand. I don't understand, to be honest with you. It's kind of crazy."
The deal was finalized just less than a month after Peavy was the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young Award.
Peavy will make $6.5 million in 2008 and $11 million in 2009. The new money kicks in in 2010, when he'll make $15 million. He'll earn $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. The club holds a $22 million option for 2013, or a $4 million buyout. If he remains with the Padres through 2013, he'll make $87.5 million.
Dodgers eye KurodaNow that the Los Angeles Dodgers have Andruw Jones and Jeff Kent in the lineup next season, they can turn their attention to finding a starting pitcher. Their first choice appears to be free agent Japanese star Hiroki Kuroda.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti made clear his desire to land the 32-year-old righthander at a news conference where Jones was introduced, a week after the sides agreed to a $36.2 million, two-year contract.
Kuroda has a 103-89 record with a 3.69 ERA in 11 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp of the Central League. "We've had conversations," Colletti said, acknowledging an offer has been made but refusing to elaborate.
As for Kent, his agent, Jeff Klein, said in an e-mail his client had advised Colletti he intends to play next year. Kent, who turns 40 in March, is the career leader in home runs by a second baseman.
Who needs Santana?
Andy Pettitte thinks the New York Yankees would do just fine without Johan Santana or Dan Haren. "If you add one of those guys, that would be great. I mean, they both have unbelievable arms and they're unbelievable pitchers," Pettitte said. "But to say that we need that to be successful, that's going to be hard for me to sit there and say, because I think that we have the talent to be able to contend." Pettitte and the Yankees agreed to a $16 million, one-year contract, a formality after Pettitte, 35, decided not to retire . . . The Cubs reached a preliminary agreement with Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome on a four-year, $48 million deal to be their right fielder. The Cubs have added a needed lefthanded bat who can get on base, hit with power, run, and play strong defense. "He's been our target acquisition from Day 1," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said when the Cubs announced the deal pending Fukudome passing a physical next week in Chicago.
Goings and comings
A number of players became free agents, with Mark Prior leading the group. The Cubs declined to offer a 2008 contract to the righthander, an 18-game winner in 2003 whose career has been sidetracked by injuries. Teams had until midnight to offer contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. Among others not tendered deals were outfielder Emil Brown (Kansas City), pitcher Chad Durbin (Detroit), outfielder Jason Tyner (Minnesota, who became expendable after the acquisitions of Craig Monroe from the Cubs and Delmon Young from the Rays), pitcher Mark Hendrickson (Dodgers, 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 39 appearances last season), infielder Dallas McPherson (Angels), infielder Morgan Ensberg (San Diego), outfielder Jason Lane (San Diego), infielder Andy Gonzalez (White Sox), and pitcher Heath Phillips (White Sox) . . . In other moves, lefthander Lenny DiNardo agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract with Oakland, returning for a second season. Utility infielder Chris Gomez and Pittsburgh agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract. Milwaukee reached one-year deals with relievers Seth McClung ($750,000) and Greg Aquino ($500,000), and catcher Mike Rivera ($395,000). Lefthander Tim Byrdak ($712,500) and the Detroit Tigers avoided salary arbitration. Washington agreed to 2008 contracts with righthanders John Patterson, Luis Ayala, and Ryan Wagner, also avoiding arbitration.