So Miguel Tejada is happy in Baltimore. Or so we think for now.
The state of Miggy's mind has been topic No. 1 with Orioles fans since Tejada issued his first "change of scenery" declaration last December.
He may not always be punctual before games or unrelenting down the baseline during them.
But there's something else to remember before the trade winds swirl a little harder this month: Tejada is still an amazing talent.
He might not be included on Orioles Rushmore with Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken Jr. But, if he keeps up his production and club allegiance through 2009, he should be sitting next to Earl Weaver and Eddie Murray on Rushmore II, the Sequel.
Of course, he also could become an ex-Oriole, one whose mention brings simultaneous nostalgia and bitterness (see Mussina, Mike).
But what Tejada has done in 2 1/2 seasons here can't be ignored. For one, he's played every regular-season game since he signed his contract in December 2003. As an Oriole, he's batted over .300, hit nearly 80 homers and driven in more than 300 runs - all as a shortstop.
He's the 12th Oriole to make three straight All-Star games. If he does it again next year, he'll be the sixth Oriole to earn four consecutive trips to the midsummer classic, joining the club's hitting pantheon: Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Murray and Ripken.
Here's one more
Only four players in Orioles history have made the All-Star team in their first three full seasons with the club: Tejada, Mussina, Jim Gentile and Roberto Alomar. None did it in their first four consecutive full seasons. Tejada has a chance to make club history next year. Assuming he's still here.
R. Lopez stock dropping
Privately, the Orioles say they are still receiving inquiries about right-hander Rodrigo Lopez despite his 5-10 record and 6.92 ERA. But at least one scout, whose team was closely following Lopez earlier this season, said his club's interest has waned heavily now that Lopez has become "a rocket launcher," a reference to the 21 homers he has allowed.
"His velocity is down, his breaking ball isn't tight and he can't locate," the scout said. "That's not a great combination."
A slamming solution
Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner wasn't picked by the fans, his peers or Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for the AL All-Star team despite his gaudy offensive numbers. He was, however, one of five players in the running for the final spot decided by the fans, but he lost to White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Next year, Hafner, a professional wrestling fan, thinks the last entry should be determined differently.
"I think they should put all five guys in the ring for a cage match," Hafner said. "We'll see who really wants it the most."
Cliff Politte's health and effectiveness will go a long way into deciding whether the defending champion White Sox need to trade for relief help at the end of the month. ... Los Angeles Angels rookie Jered Weaver joined the incomparable Bo Belinsky as the only pitchers in club history to win their first five big league starts. Belinsky's fourth win was a no-hitter against the Orioles in May 1962.