Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reds sign Willie Taveras

The Reds signed Willie Taveras to a 2-year deal, but I haven't found the money part yet. Obviously, how much they paid factors into whether or not this was a good signing. (CPat wasn't a terrbile idea until you heard they paid $3 mil. with no other suitors.)

He will play centerfield and bat lead-off. If he returns to his 2007 form (.367 OBP) he might be adequate. His stolen bases are overrated (68 in 75 tries last season) because his slugging percentage is so low. He had only 18 extra base hits in 479 at bats last year, and only 36 walks. He has to steal a lot more than 68 bases to make up for such a low slugging percentage. Theoretically, he will help our defense, but I don't see this move as a big upgrade for the Reds. If he was fairly cheap, and insurance against Stubbs not having a good spring training and not arriving soon in the bigs, then I'm fine with the addition, even with the second year to sign him. But if he's the man for the next two years, I don't think we're going to be happy with the deal. I do like the upgrade in defense, but that's less of an issue for us this year than last when we had Jr. and Dunn. If EE ends up in left it will certainly help.


Anonymous said...

Willie has elite speed and when he gets on first base he gets in the head of pitchers and disrupts their rhythm. That will be a huge lift to the line up. As for defense, he covers ground with the elite of the game. He is in his prime and with the proper coaching, he can realize his hitting potential. He has a good eye and quick hands and had a bad year last year and still hit better than Phillips and Bruce for the year.

Jon Williams said...

An interesting move for the Reds. I like Taveras (he is what he is) but I thought the Reds would be looking for power in the outfield to replace what they've lost from Dunn and Griffey.

Thanks for the link by the way. I'll be certain to reciprocate soon.

Dave Zahniser said...

Thanks for reading and for your comment. I found your blog when my wife was looking for fantasy baseball gift ideas and your entry came up. I've been enjoying it the last couple of days. In the Cincy paper this morning Jockety was quoted as saying the Reds are still interested in siging Hairston, sort of assuming they can't get the rbi guy they're looking for. I think Taveras/Hairston (speed/defense) is a fall back plan because they couldn't get the guy they wanted.

Dave Zahniser said...

I hope you're right, but I'm not sure Taveras has a good eye if you look at his walk rates. I also don't see how you can argue that he hit better than Bruce or BP. I do like the upgrade on defense. If he can be that lead-off guy we've been missing, it may work out in the end, but I'm skeptical. Hopefully, the Reds' coaching staff saw something they liked and are confident that they can turn him around.