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Tejada OKs $72M, 6-Year Deal With Orioles

December 15, 2003

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Former American League MVP Miguel Tejada agreed Sunday night to a six-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles, leaving the Oakland Athletics for a team trying to rebuild.

The deal is worth $72 million, according to contract information obtained by The Associated Press. Tejada must pass a physical to finalize the contract.

``Miguel continues the tradition of great Orioles shortstops. The cornerstone of the Orioles through the years has been our shortstops, and he certainly fits in that mold,″ vice president Mike Flanagan said.

The deal was the longest and richest of this offseason, though the Orioles still have more money to spend. Free agents Vladimir Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez and Javy Lopez also have drawn Baltimore’s attention.

Tejada, 27, hit .308 with 34 home runs and 131 RBIs in 2002 to help the A’s win 103 games and the AL West. After the season, he won the MVP honor.

But last year he slumped to a .278 average with 27 homers and 106 RBIs, striking out 65 times and drawing 53 walks.

The Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers had also expressed interest.

Tejada receives a $12 million signing bonus, with $4 million payable in 2004 and $2 million each in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011.

He receives yearly salaries of $3 million in 2004, $9 million in 2005, $10 million in 2006, $12 million in 2007, $13 million in 2008 and $13 million in 2009.

Tejada made $5 million last season and $3.65 million in 2002.