Mike Costanzo Sr. received a curious call yesterday afternoon. It was Houston Astros general manager Ed Wade, calling to say he had been traded again.
Only Wade had the wrong Mike Costanzo. Wade meant to reach Mike Jr. to tell the third-base prospect he was part of a blockbuster deal that brought All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Astros from Baltimore.
Also going to the Orioles in the deal were rightfielder Luke Scott and pitchers Troy Patton, Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate.
It marked the second time Costanzo, the former Archbishop Carroll standout, was traded in just over a month. He was traded by the Phillies on Nov. 7 in the deal that brought closer Brad Lidge from Houston.
"At this rate, I'll be traded back to Philly sometime next week," said Costanzo, a second-round draft pick out of Coastal Carolina in 2005. "You have to have a good attitude with this or you'd go insane. I have to make it fun, and I have to think the Orioles wanted me. My father and I went to Orioles games all of the time, so I'd like to call Baltimore my second home. If I didn't know this was a business, well, I know it now. But I plan on keeping it fun and giving it 110 percent no matter who I'm playing for."
Costanzo never even got settled with the Astros when the deal was made.
When Wade finally reached the right Mike Costanzo yesterday, he opened by saying, "You're never going to believe this, but you've been traded again," according to Costanzo.
Costanzo said Wade told him the deal wouldn't have been made without him being involved.
"It at least feels good that the Orioles asked for me," said Costanzo. "It's also good that my parents and friends will be able to get to see me play now on a regular basis. Camden Yards is an awesome place to play; the fans down there are great.
"This could mean I could get fast-tracked to the majors. They want to get younger and they want to build."
The Orioles finished 69-93 last season, tied for the third worst in the majors. Moving the 31-year-old Tejada, the team's lone marketable star, means a move toward rebuilding. Tejada, the 2002 American League MVP with Oakland, hit .296 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI this season. In 11 years, he has hit .287 with 258 home runs and 1,033 RBI.
"I feel very happy with this trade, because it's something that I've been really looking forward to," Tejada told the Associated Press. Two winters ago, he had expressed a desire to leave Baltimore. He is owed $13 million in each of the next 2 years, the final seasons of a $72 million, 6-year contract.
Scott, 29, hit .255 with 18 homers and 64 RBI as Houston's rightfielder. Albers, 24, went 4-11 with a 5.86 ERA, and fellow righthander Sarfate, 26, was 1-0 in seven relief appearances. Patton, a 22-year-old lefthander, made his major league debut this season.
Costanzo batted .270 at Double A Reading, with 27 homers and 86 RBI.
Baltimore general manager Andy MacPhail called Costanzo yesterday, as did new Orioles manager Dave Trembley. Costanzo is coming off a decent season in the Arizona Fall League, where he committed just two errors in 30 games.
"I suppose it's not a bad thing, being traded for a potential Hall of Famer," said Costanzo, who has been back at his Glen Mills home since Nov. 17. "Hopefully, I'll get invited to training camp."
Costanzo always dreamed about playing for the hometown Phillies one day. At least now he might end up playing close to Philadelphia. *
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