Royals sign Miguel Tejada, Endy Chavez to minor-league deals

The Royals closed out 2012 by signing a pair of veteran players on Monday as infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielder Endy Chavez each agreed to a minor-league contract.

Both are expected to be invited to spring training and will provide depth in the organization.

Tejada, 38, is a 15-year veteran who was out of the majors last season. He batted .239 with four homers and 26 RBIs with the Giants in 2011. He played second, shortstop and third base in 91 games with San Francisco.

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie tweeted: “Bienvenido Miggy! Uno de los con quien más me gustó jugar.” That translates roughly to: “Welcome Miggy! One of those with whom I most enjoyed playing.”

Tejada told the Associated Press that he will receive a guaranteed $1.1 million and could make another $400,000 in performance bonuses.

“I believe I can be valuable for Kansas City in different facets,” Tejada told the Associated Press. “They haven't told me what specific role they have in mind for me, but what is important is that I'm healthy and I know that I can help.”

An eight-time All-Star who won the 2002 American League MVP award while with Oakland, Tejada also played with Baltimore when Guthrie was there. He is a career .285 hitter with 304 homers and 1,282 RBIs.

“I’m going to try to help this team and their younger players. I’m so happy because this is what I was aiming for, a chance to get back to the majors,” Tejada told the Associated Press.

After playing in Oakland from 1997-2003, Tejada was with Baltimore (2004-07, 2010), Houston (2008-09), San Diego (2010) and San Francisco. He signed with the Orioles again this past season, but only spent part of the year in Class AAA Norfolk and was released.

Chavez, who will turn 35 in February, also was in the Orioles’ organization this past season. A left-hander, he batted .203 with a .236 on-base percentage in 64 games with Baltimore where he hit two home runs with 12 RBIs. Chavez also spent time on the 15-day disabled list with the Orioles, who designated him for assignment on Aug. 4 and took Chavez off their roster.

The Baltimore Sun reported that after the Class AAA season ended, Chavez had returned to his family in New York City, but Chavez was added again to the Orioles’ roster on Sept. 11 when Nick Markakis broke his thumb.

After hitting .149 with Class AAA Norfolk in 15 games, Chavez was surprised when Baltimore called him.

“It’s kind of shocking for me to be in this position,” Chavez told the Baltimore Sun in September. “I’m happy to be back and try to do something for the team to help them to win.”

In 17 games (seven starts) after his return to the Orioles, Chavez hit .243 with four RBIs. That included a four-hit game in a win against Oakland. The Orioles made the playoffs as a wild card, and Chavez appeared in four postseason games, but had just one plate appearance, striking out against the Yankees in the divisional round.

Chavez made his major-league debut in an odd way with the Royals, who picked him in the Rule 5 draft from the Mets in 2000. The Royals returned Chavez to the Mets at the end of spring training in 2001 because they didn’t think they would be able to keep him on their major-league roster throughout the season as required when a player is chosen in that draft.

However, the Royals wanted to keep Chavez, so on the same day they had returned him to New York, the Royals traded minor-league outfielder Michael Curry to the Mets for Chavez. That allowed the Royals the option of not keeping Chavez on the major-league roster through the season.

In his rookie season of 2001, Chavez hit .208 in 29 games with the Royals with five RBIs and two doubles. He was placed on waivers after the season and was claimed by the Tigers. He has since has played for six major-league teams: the Expos/Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles.

His most famous moment in the majors was his catch in game seven of the 2006 National League Championship Series for the Mets. Chavez leaped over the wall and robbed the Cardinals’ Scott Rolen of a two-run homer that kept the game tied at 1-1. The Mets eventually lost that game.

Chavez also appeared in the postseason with the Rangers in 2011, and had one at-bat in Texas’ World Series loss to the Cardinals.

Tejada was part of the A’s glory years of the early part of the century, and he appeared in the playoffs each year from 2000-03. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress about whether or not a teammate lied about his steroid use. Tejada was sentenced to one year of probation.