FLB: Orioles preview

Updated: January 23, 2006, 9:14 AM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN Fantasy Games
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A lot of people spent the offseason listening to the gripes of Miguel Tejada, wondering how a player who, just two winters ago, signed a six-year, $72 million contract, can possibly be unhappy. Can't money cure all? Tejada, who twice since October expressed a desire to be traded, citing displeasure with the team's direction, has since rescinded his request. But his complaints shouldn't go unnoticed; the three-time All-Star might have a point.

It's incredible to think that on June 21, there were the Orioles, 42-28 and holding a two-game lead on the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, and just 24 days away from celebrating Rafael Palmeiro's 3,000th career hit. But it all unraveled from there. The Orioles would lose their next six games and win just 32 of their final 92 contests (34.8 percent). By comparison, the Kansas City Royals, the majors' worst team in 2005, won just one fewer game during that span. Palmeiro would be busted for steroids on Aug. 2, second-year manager Lee Mazzilli would be fired two days after that, Tejada himself would be blamed by Palmeiro for supplying vitamins that might have prompted the negative test result (he was later cleared), and by late August, the Orioles would be playing out a forgettable season.


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