Tejada joins sleeper-laden Orioles lineup 

January, 25, 2010
1/25/10
2:43
PM ET
Honestly, I didn't mind the Baltimore Orioles' signing of Miguel Tejada over the weekend ... mainly because that meant he wasn't heading to the St. Louis Cardinals. If fantasy sleeper David Freese is going to fail, fine with me, but at least give him that chance. In Baltimore, the Tejada signing doesn't block anyone noteworthy, since Josh Bell is at least a year away, Ty Wigginton is, well, Ty Wigginton and there's no talk of a Brooks Robinson comeback, although he probably has more fielding range than Tejada, even at age 72. I'm not even kidding.

Tejada's bat remains just fine, good enough to make him a legitimate sleeper for fantasy baseball draft day 2010. While everyone loudly proclaims Tejada is on the downside of his career, he did hit .313 with 46 doubles and 86 RBIs, and score 83 runs for the Houston Astros in 2009. Can't find much wrong with that.

We don't yet know which lineup spot Tejada will occupy -- in 2009, he hit mainly second, third and fifth -- but I feel pretty good about his ability to produce at a similar level for another year or more, even if he hits sixth or seventh. He just missed my list of the top 10 shortstops, mainly because Asdrubal Cabrera, Yunel Escobar and Alexei Ramirez possess upside and can run a bit more, but the veteran is close, and he's certainly draftable in mixed leagues. Adding third-base eligibility a few weeks into the season -- fellow newcomer Garrett Atkins is expected to slide over to first base -- only supplements his value. Sure, he'll be 36 soon, and Orioles pitchers will want to induce hitters to direct the baseball anywhere but third base, but that's not really our problem. He'll slide in your drafts, but I don't think he should.

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