Personally, I think the O's overpaid. His .278 batting average last year was his highest batting average in his career other than his MVP season 2 years ago. I'm not saying that Tejada stinks, but he's certainly not worth $12 million in my opinion. Rumor is that Vlad is looking for $15 million over 6 years or so. That would have been a better investment than giving Tejada $12 million over the same amount of time.
Actually, I'm not disagreeing that the Orioles may have overpaid. In fact, for several reasons, I would probably argue that the Orioles HAD to overpay in order to get Tejada. Why?
1. In fact, that's how auction markets work, especially when the asset is underpaid in earlier years (aka, "the Winner's Curse")
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/ ... abay.shtml
2. The Orioles have such a poor reputation among free agents, that they need to compensate for that.
3. Teams that have little hope of play-off contention ought to pay more in salary to compensate players for lack of play-off money, exposure, good times, etc.
4. Overpaying Tejada may encourage Vlad and/or Lopez/Irod to come on board. It's an investment.
5. OP@CY depresses most hitting statistics, so hitters might need to be bribed to come play there.
6. Baltimore does not have a vibrant Latino community, so Latino players may need greater compensation to offset that.
And so on....
Now, having said, that, let's consider. The Orioles are paying Tejada 12 million per year. Tejada's numbers indicate that he'll add 3-5 wins per year to the Orioles. There are a couple different ways you can look at this, but the average team spends about $2 million per "marginal win" (see Doug Pappas' numbers on Baseball Prospectus). Of course, the Orioles are a large market team, so a win earns them more revenue than Milwaukee. I've seen estimates that put the O's in the $3-4 million range per win. Which makes Tejada worth $9-20 million. An analysis on win shares results in similar numbers.
Vlad would be worth more, probably $15-25million..........
...IF he stays healthy. And, that's a big consideration in a long-term contract. He missed 2/3rds of the season with a bad back. By coincidence, his production is about 50% higher than Tejada (usually around 60-75 RARP compares to Tejada's 40-50). If his usual year is more like that in the future (and bad backs are notoriously recurrent), then his really worth no more (and maybe less) than Tejada (2/3 Vlad = Full year of Miggy).
Tejada might be a bit overpaid...but that's understandable and it's really not by a huge amount