Willy Taveras Rumors
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.
Happy birthday, Jayson Werth! Let's celebrate by reading these news items...
- FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi outlines the unique contract situation of right-hander Chris Resop, who has been a revelation as a starting pitcher this season for Atlanta's Triple-A team.
- A bit further down the FOX Sports Buzz page, Morosi notes that Mat Gamel's time playing first base during his rehab assignment isn't necessarily a hint about Prince Fielder's fate in Milwaukee.
- In response to a piece about the Dodgers' spending under Frank McCourt, Fanhouse's Tom Krasovic relates how L.A. shipped Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the Casey Blake deal rather than pick up $2MM of Blake's salary. If Santana becomes the star catcher that he's projected to be for the Tribe, Dodger fans might be regretting that $2MM worth of savings for a long time.
- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants may have Eric Hacker replace the struggling Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation. Star prospect Madison Bumgarner has pitched well in Triple-A this season, but Schulman thinks the Giants want the young left-hander to have more innings at that level before they bring him up to the majors.
- Troy Renck of The Denver Post writes that the recently DFA'ed Willy Taveras worked out in Houston this week. The Astros offered Taveras a minor league deal over the winter, so Taveras' workout could represent a rekindling of the club's interest, or it could've just been a courtesy extended to a former Astro.
- Terry Pluto of The Cleveland Plain Dealer thinks Michael Brantley and the Indians would both be better served by having the outfield prospect back in the majors. Pluto points out that if the Tribe are trying to stall Brantley's service time, then they shouldn't have had him start with the club on Opening Day.
- The Rays have had almost as many key injuries as the Yankees this season, but Tampa Bay's depth made them better prepared to deal with it, writes Steve Slowinski of the DRaysBay blog.
- Speaking of those Yankee injuries, Brian Cashman said today that the club would look within their system to fill the holes, reports Chad Jennings of The Journal News.
Links for Sunday, as we wait to see if the Dodgers can extend their six-game winning streak....
- Ken Rosenthal writes that the Nationals promoted the 10th overall pick from the 2009 draft, Drew Storen, today. Storen had annihilated minor league hitters across two levels this season.
- Ozzie Guillen understands the reasoning behind GM Kenny Williams' recent public confirmation that he's losing patience with his ballclub, writes Ken Falkoff on MLB.com.
- Two players signed to one-year deals, Justin Duchscherer and Nick Johnson, could require surgeries that would sideline them for most or all of this season. MLB.com's Jane Lee and Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork have the details.
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com tweets that Willy Taveras may not accept a minor league assignment if he clears waivers. Taveras was DFA'd by the Nationals last night.
- Luis Ayala has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The Dodgers will have to add Ayala to their 25-man roster by Monday afternoon or release him.
- Earlier in the week, MLB.com's Chris Haft floated the idea of the Giants moving Aubrey Huff to left field to make room at first base for Buster Posey. According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Huff is open to the idea and thinks Posey would do well at first base.
- Speaking of Posey, John Sickels asks who you'd rather have: the Giants' prospect or Carlos Santana of the Indians.
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes details the Indians' changing draft strategy, and fields readers' Tribe-related questions in a mailbag.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette lists the top ten best investments made by the Pirates' current regime.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So much to get to as Thursday winds down:
- CSNBayArea.com's Mychal Urban reflects on the Oakland winter, and writes that Ben Sheets was the most important acquisition of the team's offseason.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock writes that his guess has Adrian Gonzalez staying for 2010 and getting dealt next winter.
- The Padres also hired Randy Johnson as their Minor League Coordinator, but not that Randy Johnson.
- The Astros have offered Willy Taveras a minor league deal, Bernardo Fallas writes in the Houston Chronicle.
Some Tuesday night links...
- Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports tweets that neither Tim Lincecum nor the Giants have budged in their negotiations, and his arbitration hearing is set for Friday.
- MLB.com's Steve Gilbert reports (via Twitter) that the Diamondbacks and Edwin Jackson still haven't made any progress towards an agreement. Their arbitration hearing is now just eight days away.
- In addition to having interest in Russell Branyan and Jermaine Dye, the Indians are also talking to Hank Blalock, reports Rosenthal. He adds that the Blue Jays are also in on Branyan.
- In a pair of tweets, Rosenthal passes along the incentives in Erik Bedard's contract. They lefty could bring in $500K each for 14, 17, 20, 23, and 26 starts, plus $600K for every 25 innings after 75.
- Meanwhile, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com report that Damon hasn't moved off his demand of a two-year deal. Good luck with that, Johnny.
- Morosi and Rosenthal also report that the Rangers and Mets appear to be "hamstrung by complications at the ownership level," meaning they're approaching their payroll limits.
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Astros' GM Ed Wade said the team has some interest in bringing Willy Taveras back on a minor league deal. Oakland released Taveras today.
- Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun (via Peter Schmuck) spoke to Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who indicated that the team has not had recent talks with the agents for Jarrod Washburn or Chien-Ming Wang. The O's were linked to both pitchers earlier today.
- MLB.com's Corey Brock says (via Twitter) that it's "highly unlikely" that the Padres will sign Japanese lefty Hisanori Takahashi. Several teams reportedly offered the southpaw a minor league contract.
The Athletics released outfielder Willy Taveras, tweets MLB.com's Jane Lee. Taveras had been designated for assignment on February 1st immediately after being acquired from the Reds along with Adam Rosales. Taveras passed through Oakland as GM Billy Beane's way of facilitating the Rosales acquisition.
The A's ultimately acquired Jake Fox and Rosales. The financial cost is the $4MM owed to Taveras, less $400K if he signs elsewhere as a free agent and less the $1MM the Cubs sent with Aaron Miles. If Taveras signs somewhere the A's will have paid $2.6MM to get Fox and Rosales, while also giving up Jeff Gray, Ronny Morla, and Matt Spencer.