"I've been with the Orioles for two years and things haven't
gone in the direction that we were expecting, so I think the best
thing will be a change of scenery," Tejada told The Associated
Press during a telephone interview in his native Dominican
Tejada signed a $72 million, six-year contract with the Orioles
before the 2004 season.
He hit .304 with 26 home runs and 98 RBI this year, but
Baltimore finished 21 games behind the New York Yankees and Boston
Red Sox in the AL East. In his first season as an Oriole, Tejada set career highs in batting average (.311) and RBI (150) and tied his career high in homers (34).
"I've done many things with this team and I haven't seen
results, and the other teams are getting stronger while the Orioles
have not made any signings to strengthen the club," said Tejada,
the 2002 AL MVP (.308-34-131) while with Oakland.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos and team executive vice president
Mike Flanagan did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
When contacted by the Washington Post, manager Sam Perlozzo said he had recently tried to call Tejada.
"I actually had a phone call in to him this week," Perlozzo told the newspaper. "He's not returned the call. Maybe this is why. I think probably the level-headed thing is to find out what's going on and then comment after that."
Meanwhile, Melvin Mora echoed Tejada's sentiments in comments to the Baltimore Sun.
"I think he is right," Mora told the newspaper from Puerto Rico, where he is vacationing. "He says what he feels and that's pretty much what has happened. You let people go like nothing and you do nothing to help this club. And he wants to go someplace to compete. I don't blame him. We want [the front office] to do something."
In other news, free agent catcher Ramon Hernandez and the
Orioles agreed to a $27.5 million, four-year contract.
The 29-year-old Hernandez batted .290 last season with the San
Diego Padres. He had 12 home runs and 58 RBI, but his main value
is behind the plate, where he has a reputation for calling a smart
game and capably handling a pitching staff.
Mora, however wants the club to make more moves, especially to improve the pitching staff.
"Who is going to pitch for us?" Mora told the Sun. "I don't care what people think of what Tejada says. We know exactly what he says because we feel it."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.