Willy Taveras Rumors

Phillies Sign Willy Taveras

The Phillies signed Willy Taveras, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link). Yesterday, DeWayne Wise opted out of his contract with the Phillies, who restore some minor league outfield depth by signing Taveras. The Nationals signed Taveras in February, but released him unconditionally two weeks ago after an unproductive stint in Washington.

Taveras, 28, hit .200/.243/.257 in 37 plate appearances for the Nats this year. The former stolen base champ was successful in just one of three attempts. He has had trouble reaching base for the last three seasons, but he was an above-average defender (according to UZR) as recently as last year.

Taveras will report to Triple A, where Wise was playing before he opted out, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).

Nationals Release Willy Taveras

The Nationals unconditionally released Willy Taveras, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The Nationals designated the speedy outfielder for assignment over the weekend to make room for Michael Morse. It's the second time that Taveras has been released this year. The A's, who are responsible for most of Taveras' $4MM salary, released him in February before the Nationals signed him to a minor league deal.

Taveras didn't hit much in his 37 plate appearances this year and hasn't been a serious offensive threat for a couple years. He posted a .367 on base percentage for the 2007 Rockies, but like Kaz Matsui, who also played on that Rockies team, Taveras may have trouble finding a major league roster spot because of his recent struggles.

Odds & Ends: Resop, Gamel, Santana, Bumgarner

Happy birthday, Jayson Werth!  Let's celebrate by reading these news items…

Odds & Ends: Storen, Duchscherer, Johnson

Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak….

Nationals Designate Willy Taveras For Assignment

The Nationals designated outfielder Willy Taveras for assignment, reports Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider.  The move clears a spot for Mike Morse, who is returning from a calf injury.

Taveras, 28, logged only 36 plate appearances with the Nationals this year.  He signed a minor league deal in February after being released by the Athletics.  The A's remain on the hook for most of Taveras' $4MM salary.  The speedster's last good season was a 97-game stint in '07 with the Rockies.

Zuckerman also notes that reliever Brian Bruney "appears to be on thin ice at this point."  The 28-year-old righty was acquired to take on a late-inning role, but his fastball's been down almost two miles per hour and his control has been brutal.

Nationals Have Discussed Trade For Right Fielder

In the wake of losing an everyday outfielder when they released Elijah Dukes, the Nationals have had discussions with several teams about a trade for a right fielder according to MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling. Among the targets: Corey Hart, Kosuke Fukudome, and B.J. Upton.

Goessling says that none of those trade talks have been particularly substantive, but it's clear the Nats aren't necessarily looking for a cheap solution. The two sides weren't able to find a common ground for Hart, and the Nats came away with the impression that the Rays won't move the elder Upton brother unless they fall out of the AL East race this summer. Fukudome still has two years and $26.5MM left on his deal, so he's unlikely to be moved unless the Cubs eat a large portion of that commitment.

Washington feels right field is a thin position around the league, so for now they'll try to get by with a combination of Willie Harris and Willy Taveras. They'll have to hope their defensive skills make up for their collective lack of offense. 

Odds & Ends: Gonzalez, Benson, Giants, Mariners

A quick rundown of some of the day's items…

  • In an appearance on WEEI's Dale & Holley Show, ESPN's Keith Law said that the Red Sox are the clear front-runners if and when Adrian Gonzalez hits the trade market.  "I really think that Boston could top anybody if Adrian Gonzalez becomes available, and he will," Law said.  The transcript of Law's appearance is available here.
  • It looks like Washington might still be the only team interested in Kris Benson.  Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets that the Indians have no interest in the right-hander.
  • ESPN.com's Jayson Stark polled "20 baseball wise men" to get their take on the offseason moves.  The panel picked Seattle and Arizona as the most improved teams in their respective leagues, while Cleveland and the Dodgers were the least improved.  John Lackey was named the winter's best free agent signing, while Brandon Lyon's deal with Houston was considered the worst.
  • Giants infielder Freddy Sanchez underwent shoulder surgery on December 23, but the news of the procedure didn't come out until almost a month later.  Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News believes the club wanted to keep Sanchez's condition a secret in order to help them sign Juan Uribe to a more team-friendly contract.  Uribe signed a one-year, $3.25MM deal on January 5.
  • MLB.com's Jim Street answers some Mariner-related questions in a fan mailbag.  Some topics of note include the possibility that the M's could deal one of their surplus outfielders, and Chad Cordero could also be trade bait if he doesn't make the Seattle bullpen but otherwise appears recovered from shoulder surgery.
  • Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs thinks "Arizona overpaid a bit" in the arbitration settlement between the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson, but also notes that "there is reason to believe this deal is fair to both sides."
  • Miguel Olivo took less money to play in Colorado because he wanted to be on a contending team, reports Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
  • "It's decision time" for teams to negotiate with players entering the last year of their contracts, says USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
  • Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros had their arbitration hearing today, and The Associated Press reports that a decision should be reached by tomorrow.  Rodriguez wants $7MM, while Houston has countered with an offer of $5MM.   
  • Jane Lee of MLB.com breaks down the dollars and reasoning behind Oakland's quick flip of Willy Taveras earlier this month.
  • There are no new developments between Jonny Gomes and the Reds, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the two sides are still talking.  GM Walt Jocketty is hopeful the team and player "can get something done this weekend."
  • Chuck Finder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looks at some of the issues facing the Pirates this spring, and notes that the club's young players could be helped without the pressure to win starting jobs.

Nationals Sign Willy Taveras

The Nationals signed center fielder Willy Taveras to a minor league deal, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.  Taveras had been released by the A's on Tuesday, not long after Oakland received him from the Reds to faciliate their Adam Rosales trade.  The Nats will presumably pay Taveras the league-minimum $400K if he makes the team, with the A's paying his remaining $3.6MM.

Taveras, 28, hit .240/.275/.285 for the Reds in 437 plate appearances last year.  The Reds signed Taveras to a two-year, $6.25MM after he was non-tendered by the Rockies.  Defensively, based on UZR, Taveras graded well in 2009 and was slightly below-average the two years prior.

In addition to Taveras, the Nationals signed outfielders Chris Duncan, Kevin Mench, and Jerry Owens to minor league deals this winter.

Odds & Ends: Athletics, Padres, Astros

So much to get to as Thursday winds down:

Odds & Ends: Lincecum, Jackson, Blalock, Bedard

Some Tuesday night links…