Monday, February 15, 2010

Taveras signs minor-league deal

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The Nationals have signed speedster Willy Taveras to a minor-league contract and will give him a chance to win a spot as the fourth or fifth outfielder on the Opening Day roster, a club source confirmed.

Taveras, 28, has long been considered one of baseball's fastest players -- he led the NL with 68 stolen bases in 2008 -- but he's struggled in recent years to get on base enough to take advantage of his speed. In 102 games with the Reds last year, he reached base at a pathetic .275 clip. Combine that with a .285 slugging percentage, and Taveras was one of the least productive offensive players in baseball in 2009.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Cincinnati gave up on him and shipped him to the A's two weeks ago in a deal that brought Aaron Miles to the Reds. Oakland immediately designated Taveras for assignment, and after he cleared waivers, gave him his outright release. That put the A's on the hook for his $4 million salary in 2010 and left him available to sign with any other big-league club for a minimum deal.

The Astros also showed in interest in Taveras, who spent his first three major-league seasons in Houston, but the Nats emerged with the player. Though Taveras will still make his guaranteed $4 million salary this year, Washington will only be responsible for a fraction of that amount if he makes the big-league roster, with Oakland paying the majority.

What are Taveras' chances of making the Nats' roster? Well, the club currently has no established fourth outfielder, so he'll be in the mix along with Chris Duncan, Justin Maxwell and Roger Bernadina. Willie Harris will obviously make the team off the bench and will get some playing time in the outfield, but he's viewed as more of a super-utility guy who can bounce from position to position.

28 comments:

An Briosca Mor said...

That series of moves with Taveras makes no sense. Clearly the A's wanted to get rid of Miles and the Reds wanted to get rid of Taveras. But why would the A's trade for Taveras and immediately DFA him, leaving them stuck for $4M in salary? The only reason I can think of would be because the Reds were facilitating their dumping of Miles, but wouldn't it have been cheaper for the A's to just DFA him instead? Miles is owed $2.7M in 2010, with $1M of that payable by the Cubs due to a previous trade. So the A's traded for a higher salary and then cut the guy. And I thought Billy Beane was supposed to be a genius?

Positively Half St. said...

ABM-

Here is the explanation, courtesy of MLBTR:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/02/athletics-release-willy-taveras.html

They processed Taveras though their system as a way to get other players beyond just Taveras. The weird thing is how unimpressive the additional players are, if you look more closely.

RQB said...

Taveras and Chris Duncan will both make the team. Hopefully, Nyjer can teach Wily how to bunt his way on base.

JMW4th said...

for those Google Buzz early adopters like me, here's a BuzzThread for some Nats Talk.

http://bit.ly/avg3Rt

enjoy.

JMW4th said...

yer invited to the BuzzThread too, Mark. just so you know.

Jaxpo Nat said...

ABM - Yes, Rosales was the player Oakland was truly after and they took Tavares to facilitate that acquisition.

Nervous Nats Fan said...

Mark, do you tweet?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Nervous Nat Fan: Yep, you can find me on Twitter @MarkZuckerman.

luckyute said...

I just have to say here that not only was Willie Taveras the WORST everyday player in MLB last years, but probably holds the crown for every year he has spent in the big leagues.

If the Nats give him even on AB, it will be a waste.

NattyLite said...

its nice that nook logan changed his name and is back with the nats

Jaxpo Nat said...

NattyLite: You are wrong on this one. It is not Nook Logan. It is Endy Chavez who is back.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Or maybe Nook Logan WAS Endy Chavez...? Mediocrity can get so confusing.

Mark Zuckerman said...

I believe the correct order of Great-Speed/No-Hit leadoff guys in Nats history is as follows...

2005: Endy Chavez
2006: Brandon Watson (aka Endy 2.0)
2007: Nook Logan (aka Endy 3.0)
2008: Emilio Bonifacio (aka Endy 4.0)
2010: Willy Taveras (aka Endy 5.0)

alm1000 said...

Brandon Watson - my hero. He was in as a pinch hitter on 9/11/05 and hit a foul ball back against the glass that then came right to me. Foul ball on the fly off the glass - sweet. At spring training in 06 I got him to sign that ball. Boy was he surprised when I called him by name as he came off the field after the game. Don't remember seeing him play again after that.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Thank you for clarifying that, and I will raise a cold one tonight to Nyjer Morgan for not making that list.

As you leave your hotel in Savannah and pass through Jacksonville on the final few hours of your trip, please take a moment to reflect on what fertile ground this city was for the Expos/Nats franchise. Galarraga, Larry Walker, Randy Johnson, Grissom, Deshields, and many many more cut their teeth here for the Jacksonville Expos. Ah, those were the glory days. Damn '94 strike. Oh, but watch out for the construction.

Anonymous said...

If Taveras and/or Duncan make the team over Bernadina and/or Maxwell, it may not be a disaster in its effect on their win-loss record, but it will tell the players in the farm system that even if you succeed at the highest levels of the Nats farm system, you will not get a fair shot to show what you can do at the Major League level. No one can argue that either Bernadina or Maxwell have received enough playing time to demonstrate whether they can be successful in the Majors. Frankly, Maxwell should be playing RF instead of Dukes. He has much more character and baseball smarts than Dukes, which is why Riggleman has such a high opinion of him.

Duke's BFF said...

Anonymous - Justin Maxwell is a career .252 hitter and isn't even a lock for the 25 man roster and you believe he should be the starting RF for this team?

I also discount JMax's stats that were pumped up in September callup baseball too.

If sports were built on character then I fear 1/2 of all players wouldn't make your cut.

By any chance, is your last name Maxwell?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Maxwell hasn't hit. He may have more "intangibles" but you gotta have "tangibles." Hope he gets it together.

Agree that Taveras is the worst offensive player out there. He's an upgrade over whom as a spare outfielder? Is "inventory" that low?

NatsRule said...

WaPo posted their projected 25 man roster.

Bernadina was picked over Maxwell as a reserve in their projection.

NattyLite said...

jaxpo nat: couldnt agree more...jacksonville has been a stopping point for many nats/expo greats, as well as baseball greats. too bad the greats the suns are churning out now are marlin prospects...gotta love the baseball grounds though

JMW4th said...

hey Mark....

any clue who was removed from the 40 man roster to make room for Adam Kennedy?

peric said...

I think Harris was almost traded (ala super utility guy Belliard) last year. I think he and his left-handed bat may be traded this spring to make way for the younger Bernadina, Davis and Daniel all left-handed bats.

I think Taveras is designated to replace Norris Hopper and Jorge Padilla on the depth chart in Syracuse. IMHO that is Rizzo's thinking ... if the guy kills AAA pitching like Padilla did (and to some extent Hopper) then he gets a call up to the majors. Meanwhile, he continues to keep Syracuse as competitive as possible.

Can Taveras make the 25-man roster? Sure, if he beats out Nyjer Morgan, Willy Harris, Bernadina, Maxwell, and Desmond. Its a good sign for Bernadina. With Taveras, Davis and Daniel in Syracuse ... plus Eldred they should field a pretty good club to support the prospect pitchers who are beginning to arrive there ...

Since Maxwell is out of options?

peric said...

My guess is that Ryan Matheus is DFA'ed for Taveras ... unless its Maxwell.

greg said...

maxwell is out of options? not according to mlbtraderumors...

Nationals
Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Matt Chico, Tyler Clippard, Doug Slaten, Tyler Walker, Mike Morse, Josh Willingham

(http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/02/out-of-options-2010.html)

bernadina et al can't play the infield in a pinch. that's why harris is still here (and likely will still be here). he provides much more roster flexibility.

greg said...

oh, and nobody needs to be DFAd for taveras. it's a minor league deal, not a 40 man roster spot.

Rich said...

But somebody does need to be moved for Kennedy.

natsfan1a said...

In other news, per the team site, the Nats have agreed to terms with Wang and have scheduled a Viera presser for Friday.

Anonymous said...

That's great news on Wang. Hope it is a long term and not a short term rental!

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