Tejada is embracing his new start

Updated: March 17, 2004, 12:09 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
JUPITER, Fla. -- Miguel Tejada appeared in 805 of a possible 810 games in his last five seasons in Oakland. He won a Most Valuable Player award, made four trips to the playoffs and turned the A-Rod-Jeter-Nomar troika of pre-eminent shortstops into a quartet with a fraction of the publicity.

Miguel Tejada
But when Tejada reached free agency this winter, he received the same small-market treatment the Athletics gave Jason Giambi in 2001. Actually, not even that. Giambi might have stayed in Oakland rather than sign with New York if the A's had been willing to give him a no-trade clause. In Tejada's final season, Oakland cut its ties with no offer and a minimum of conversation.

This spring, a different message is emanating from Oakland's camp in Arizona. Third baseman Eric Chavez is close to a reported six-year, $66 million contract, eight months before he's eligible for free agency. Chavez's deal would end a run of departures that included Giambi, Johnny Damon, Tejada and Keith Foulke, while debunking the perception of Oakland as a breeding ground for future Yankees, Red Sox and Orioles.

It's understandable if Tejada felt slighted that the A's are signing Chavez after they let him walk. He could express remorse that Oakland management didn't at least try harder to keep him. He could stand on his head in the clubhouse, chew gum and read passages from "Moneyball" aloud to make a point.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer