Willy Taveras Rumors
The Reds traded outfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the Athletics today for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named later or cash, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Let's break down this bad contract swap.
Taveras will earn $4MM in 2010. The speedy 28-year-old was a bust for the Reds in '09, hitting .240/.275/.285 in 437 plate appearances. Rosales did not hit well in the bigs either, but he did crush Triple A pitching in 125 plate appearances. Before the season Baseball America said he profiles as a "good utiltyman." He's played all around the infield in the minors. Rosales' inclusion might even out the salary gap between Taveras and Miles.
Miles will earn $2.7MM in 2010, though the Cubs sent $1MM to the A's as part of a December '09 trade. Like Taveras, he was signed to a two-year deal despite being non-tendered by his former club and proceeded to have a terrible season. AOL FanHouse's Ed Price tweets that there's "zero chance" this trade opens a spot for Johnny Damon on the Reds.
Olney posits that the Reds' $1.3MM savings may go toward Orlando Cabrera. The A's were looking to add a cheap utlityman in Rosales. The A's have taken a $3MM hit on Taveras and given up Jeff Gray, Ronny Morla, Matt Spencer, and a PTBNL or cash to get Jake Fox and Rosales. They're not done, though, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Oakland is "not expected to hang on to Taveras for long."
Still, we don't have all the details on this trade yet. What else will be sent to Cincinnati? What will the A's do with so many outfielders?
MLB.com's Mark Sheldon cleaned out his inbox and answered a few questions from Reds fans today. Here are some of the more pertinent details...
- The team would like to move Willy Taveras if they could, but there are very few takers for a player who posted a .240/.275/.285 line in 2009 and is due to make $4MM next season. Given his limited abilities and how Shelton feels that Taveras wouldn't be happy on the bench, the Reds have to consider cutting their losses with Taveras and releasing him.
- Micah Owings will likely not be used as trade bait, given that he is expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation and is also valuable out of the bullpen or as a pinch-hitter.
- Sheldon thinks that between Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, Gomes has "the better chance" of being tendered a contract.
- If neither man is brought back, Cincinnati will turn to a variety of in-house options for the left field job, including Wladimir Balentien, Chris Dickerson or prospects Juan Francisco, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier.
- Sheldon believes Joey Votto "has earned the right" to remain as Cincinnati's everyday first baseman, and the Reds would only consider moving their young slugger to left field if prospect Yonder Alonso proved he was ready for the major leagues.
- No surprise here, but Shelton confirms that the Reds don't have the payroll to go after major free agents like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay.
Links for Wednesday...
- Chris De Luca of the Chicago Sun-Times doesn't expect much to change with the Cubs under the Ricketts family. He says to expect a payroll around $143MM. That might leave GM Jim Hendry with around $8MM to work with.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic believes Eric Byrnes' time with the Diamondbacks might be nearing an end. They may attempt to trade him before releasing him.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer wouldn't be surprised to see the Reds release center fielder Willy Taveras, who is still owed $4MM.
- Sox Machine reader Chris Pummer makes the case for the White Sox offering arbitration to reliever Octavio Dotel. Dotel projects as a Type A free agent, though he's right on the fringe.
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun believes Andy MacPhail "will have to pull a huge rabbit out of his hat" to make the Orioles competitive in 2010.
- As expected, new Padres GM Jed Hoyer reassigned scouting director Bill Gayton according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
- WEEI has a live online chat scheduled with Jason Bay tomorrow.
- Diamondbacks prospect Jarrod Parker blogged about his upcoming Tommy John surgery.
To put it mildly, this has been a rough year for Reds fans. Edinson Volquez had the Cincinnati faithful buzzing after posting a 3.21 ERA with 9.5 K/9 in his first full season in 2008. After logging just nine starts in the 2009 campaign, Volquez needed surgery to repair damage in his right elbow. The Reds faded fast as their depleted staff wasn't getting much of a lift from their sagging offense. Injuries to Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion (prior to being dealt to Toronto) certainly didn't do them any favors.
However, if the team's recent performance is any indication of what lies ahead, Reds fans might have something to cheer about in 2010. Dusty Baker's squad has gone 19-11 since September 1st, thanks in part to stronger pitching (3.39 team ERA) and the return of Jay Bruce, who missed two months with a broken wrist.
Buster Olney, Baseball Prospectus and the ESPN Insider staff compiled a glance at this past season and what to expect next year in Cincy. An ESPN Insider account is needed to read the article, but here are the brass tacks for those without:
- It's no secret that the Reds don't have a top-flight budget. They opened this season with a payroll of $73MM and owner Bob Castellini isn't going to "go all Steinbrenner" and tack-on much more.
- Further exacerbating their financial woes are their pricey commitments to Bronson Arroyo, Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang and Scott Rolen. Combined, these four players are owed $46.5 million next season.
- Olney says that considering their lack of flexibility this offseason, Homer Bailey might be their best chance for improvement as he recorded a 2.41 ERA in September. The velocity that made Bailey such a highly-coveted prospect has returned, with his fastball being clocked at an average of 94.5 MPH this year. This is a big step-up from his previous big league work and could spell an even bigger jump in 2010.
- Baseball Prospectus says that their "acceptable" rate of 4.5 runs allowed per game is due in part to their much-improved defense. It will be interesting to see if defensive-minded yet weak-hitting shortstop Paul Janish will be the Reds' starter next season. Manager Dusty Baker said on Friday that a "definitive decision" hasn't been made yet.
- Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus notes that the combined efforts of all Reds batting in the top two lineup spots resulted in a slash line of .245/.301/.354. When Willy Taveras hit the DL in August, Dusty Baker put rookie Drew Stubbs and the aforementioned Janish at the top of the order. The team has gone 27-15 since then, but Jaffe attributes most of the credit for that to the improved performance of the pitching staff.
- The "Rumor Central" portion of the piece encourages Reds fans that are anxious to see the team acquire a big bat to consider what the offense is capable of if they are healthy. Injury-free seasons from Bruce and Votto should give Cincinnati a major boost.
- The report says to expect the Reds to tender Jonny Gomes an offer as he is arbitration-eligible. This should come as no surprise as Gomes has belted 20 HRs in 311 plate appearances while posting .266/.338/.540.
- Jaffe says that Jocketty could deal Arroyo or Harang to give the team room to make a mid-level signing this winter. He adds, "...It's difficult to envision this team breaking out of the middle of the pack without keen vision and bold steps."
A couple more links for tonight...
- Derrick Goold of The St. Louis Post Dispatch tweets that the Cardinals and Braves discussed closer Rafael Soriano earlier this year. We heard some rumblings of a Joe Mather for Soriano deal over the summer.
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon wonders who should start in center field for the Reds next year - Chris Dickerson, Drew Stubbs, or Willy Taveras. Taveras is under contract for $4MM next year, plus Dusty loves his veterans, so he might get the job by default.
- Steve Gilbert of MLB.com notes that the Diamondbacks and manager A.J. Hinch will wait until after the season to make any decisions about the coaching staff.
Executives tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that we saw the "softest deadline ever" last week because there's still the possibility for trades this month. Here's an explanation of how trades can occur after the deadline and here are the players Heyman deems likely to clear waivers (player who clear waivers may be traded):
- Bronson Arroyo, Adam Dunn, Jose Guillen, Aaron Harang, Adrian Beltre, Aubrey Huff, Jason Giambi, Melvin Mora, Miguel Batista, Juan Cruz, Ty Wigginton, Ron Mahay, Willie Bloomquist, Lyle Overbay, Willy Taveras.
Some players who could clear waivers:
- Jon Garland, Doug Davis, Gil Meche, Alex Rios, Carl Pavano, Mark Hendrickson, Jhonny Peralta, Jamey Carroll, Ron Villone.
And some players who probably won't clear waivers, but who could be dealt to a claiming team:
- Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, Marco Scutaro, Chad Qualls, Michael Wuertz, Brian Bannister, Josh Willingham, Gary Sheffield, David Eckstein, Jason Frasor, Mark Teahen.
A few links to start the morning off...
- Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star says the draft picks who ask for big bonuses aren't always the bad guys.
- The biggest bonus so far belongs to Tony Sanchez of the Pirates ($2.5MM). Check out our updated list of first rounders to sign.
- Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Xavier Nady suffered a setback during his rehab assignment.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic shows how the D'Backs missed out on Ian Kinsler even though they drafted him twice.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette suggests we shouldn't expect Ian Snell to be dealt soon.
- SI.com's Tim Marchman calls Willy Taveras and Edgar Renteria this year's biggest free agent busts.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Red Sox are hesitant to deal a starter, since Tim Wakefield and John Smoltz are the only two starters over 40 in the AL.
- Definitely not a trade rumor, but WEEI.com's Rob Bradford reports that Smoltz received 71 text messages after his start last night.
The latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports...
- The White Sox are still trying to figure out their center field situation, but they are not involved on pricey veterans such as Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews Jr.
- Fantasy alert: Rosenthal names David Aardsma as the likely leader for the Mariners closer job, with Chad Cordero and Brandon Morrow lingering.
- The Dodgers "continue to balk at Pedro Martinez's $5MM asking price."
- Rockies utility man Jeff Baker, who is out of options, is drawing interest from the Phillies, Astros, and Pirates. Rosenthal suggests recently-demoted Kyle Kendrick as a possible target for Colorado, assuming the Phils can move Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs to clear a spot. Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post says the Yankees are unlikely to acquire Baker.
- The Blue Jays have been scouting shortstops Chin-Lung Hu, Juan Castro, and others in hopes of finding someone they can stash at Triple A for insurance.
- Was Willy Taveras a bad move for the Reds? Rosenthal says rival executives think so.
John Fay has an update that addresses the recent rumors suggesting newly available Andruw Jones might be headed to the Reds--in short, Fay doesn't see it happening.
As for reasons specific to the club, the Reds just picked up Willy Taveras to play center field, which is Jones' position. Taveras' status with the club makes it extremely unlikely that Jones would have a starting role, which he is apparently looking for.
More generally, Fay cites Jones' rapidly declining OPS as a reason for the Reds to stay away. Unfortunately for Jones, that reason to stay away applies for every team.
WEDNESDAY: Taveras' deal with the Reds is worth $6.25MM over two years.
SATURDAY: The Reds have signed Willy Taveras to a two-year contract according to Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. The terms of the deal aren't yet known.
The 27-year-old figures to play center field and lead off for the Reds. He's stolen at least 30 bases in each of the last four years, including 2008 when he set a career high with 68 steals in spite of a .308 OBP.