SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy no doubt felt emboldened by the man sitting alongside him. "We should be better," the manager of this year's World Series winners said Thursday at an AT&T Park news conference to herald the official signing of shortstop Miguel Tejada to a one-year, $6.5 million contract. Bochy's optimism regarding 2011 stemmed partly from the knowledge that the Giants will have the likes of Buster Posey and Cody Ross available all season. Bochy also took heart from the acquisition of Tejada, who'll replace Juan Uribe as the Giants' primary shortstop.
Tejada, the Giants' braintrust firmly believes, is no ordinary 36-year-old, an age when most middle infielders become corner infielders or retirees. General manager Brian Sabean and his scouts scrutinized Tejada in person and on video -- an activity they began during the season, because the Giants considered trading for him before San Diego did on July 29. The visual evidence convinced San Francisco's braintrust that Tejada still can be a productive player. "He played [shortstop] like he did 10 years ago," Sabean said. Asked how Tejada accomplished this, Sabean cited Tejada's superior command of fundamentals, from his positioning of his feet to his arm. "You guys are going to be surprised," Sabean said. "He has a lot of baseball in him because of how he works at it, and he had great training." The Giants also regarded Tejada's renowned enthusiasm as an asset. "Watching him from the other side, you love the passion he plays with," Bochy said. Tejada indicated that his ardor should remain elevated all season. The six-time All-Star related that once the Giants contacted his agent, he ceased to care about any other offer he might receive. "With a team like San Francisco, you don't say no," said Tejada, who expressed excitement to play before AT&T Park's consistently large crowds and to play for a contender. "My last seven years, I've been out of the race before the All-Star break," said Tejada, a career .297 hitter (33-for-111) at AT&T Park. Having started his 14-year Major League career in Oakland, Tejada also relished the opportunity to return to Northern California. "I want to say hi to all my people in the Bay Area," he said. Tejada suggested that he'd welcome the opportunity to shepherd younger Giants such as Pablo Sandoval, who slumped horribly in 2010. He gave a nod to his A's roots by citing Jason Giambi, Matt Stairs and John Jaha as veterans who helped him develop on and off the field. And should the Giants ultimately decide that Tejada, who appeared at third base in 97 of the 156 games he played last season for Baltimore and San Diego, is better suited to the hot corner, that's more than fine with him. "I love baseball," Tejada said, declaring that he's happy regardless of which position he plays. "The one thing I have on my mind every day is winning."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.