Thursday, February 11, 2010

God have mercy...

Bernardo Fallas is delivering the sad, sad news that the Astros have offered Willy Taveras a minor-league contract, after he cleared waivers.

So let's recap. The Reds thought he sucked, so they traded him to Oakland, where the A's thought Aaron Miles sucked enough to trade him over to the Reds. The A's were happy enough just to dump his contract, designating Taveras for assignment the same day they traded for him, where upon he was released. No other MLB team would claim him (with the size of his contract having a lot to do with it, I understand), meaning that of the 30 major league teams, nobody wanted him.

Except the Astros.

Now I get the possibility of his being a late-inning replacement, defensive specialist, etc. He'll have to outwork Yordany, Bogusevic, Sullivan, Michaels, etc. I get it. $400,000. I understand. I still hate it.


OremLK said...

So who is he supposed to be better than?

Brian Bogusevic? No. Younger, better bat, pretty good defense.

Drew Locke? Younger, much better bat.

Yordany Ramirez? They're the same player, except Ramirez is four years younger.

Jason Bourgeois? Younger, better bat, can play 2B.

Corey Sullivan? Much better bat, once again.

This is a stupid move. Best case, he's a waste of a AAA roster spot; worst case, it blocks some much more talented, younger players at the big league level.

But hey, maybe he's just supposed to be roster-rounding depth at Class A Lexington. I can hope, right?

OremLK said...

Oh, and I forgot Collin DeLome. See: Brian Bogusevic.

Peanut said...

Taveras is a bad hitter, yeah, but I think you guys are overreacting. He's a better option than some of the other players you've listed, and a worse option than others. He'd be just another addition to a mediocre bunch of players contending for a small role on a mediocre team. Not the end of the world, folks.

OremLK said...

Peanut, we're talking about a guy who has averaged under .590 OPS his last two seasons. That's almost 1,000 plate appearances, which is a pretty significant sample size.

I have to respectfully disagree with your overall conclusion. I'm not overly fond of our AAA outfield either, but I still prefer every one of those guys to Willy T.

When you have six AAA outfielders fighting for playing time, why add a seventh, when all of the other options are superior?

The Constable. said...

+1 to OremLK. Even at a minor-league spot, it means he's blocking someone's career. And if I was that person, I would not be happy about having my career blocked because Ed Wade signed Willy Taveras a week before spring training. I don't care if Taveras only sees games in the 9th inning (even for $400,000, that better be the only time Taveras sees game action), I just don't like the idea of an actual prospect being blocked because of a guy with an OPS under .600.

And Peanut, you came very close to losing a point for your insolence. But in saying we were over-reacting, I like the ballsy-ness. +1.

BryanTSC said...

Where or who is this obsession with old, below replacement level players coming from?

Last year it was Erstad (who admittedly was fine in '08), Kata, Smith, and Michaels.

Ryan Sides said...

I just have to point out...

How many major league at-bats do Bogusevic, Locke, Ramirez, Sullivan AND DeLome have? That would be zero. Combined. (Not sure about Bourgeois.) So yes, I'm not thinking Willy T will be a spark to the offense, but you cannot say the other guys have better bats because we simply do not know.

But even if they DO have better bats, we're talking about, what? 50 at-bats? 100 max? Some of these guys NEED to be in AAA and have 500 to continue to develop, not 50 and ride the pine.

I agree with the overreacting comment. The bottom line is that the three starters are still going to play 97% of the time (which will be much higher than our infield guaranteed) and if he's a pinch runner / pinch bunter / defensive replacement, what's the fuss about?!

BryanTSC said...

I can understand the desire for those who are still considered prospects (at least by the Astros standards) to continue their development. But when you have guys like Abercrombie, he is what he's going to be. He'll never be a star; he's a 4th or 5th outfielder....which is what we're looking for. And he's already here. Keeping guys like him marinating beyond their minor league shelf life just stagnates the flow of talent through the system. (How's that for a mixed metaphor.)

The Constable. said...

We'll give a +1 to Sides for the contrarian view, and to BryanTSC for the mixed metaphors.

Patrick said...

My biggest problem with the signing is what OremLK has already brought up. Yordany Ramirez is just about the same player as Willy Taveras. Yordany is not quite as fast, but plays better D. If Taveras were a left-handed bat, this move would actually make a whole lot of sense, but he's not.

The organization could potentially be blocking other younger prospects (if you really want to call Bogey, Ramirez, & Locke prospects). But more importantly, why spend money on something (Taveras) that you already have in-house (Ramirez)? As a team that often justifies a lot of non-signings for already being 'over-budget', i just can't understand this move.

Kevin said...

What about Maysonet? Wade said he'd get some work in the outfield this offseason. May as well put his name in the hat too plus he has MLB service time accrued.

If you call up any of our 'prospects' (Locke, Bogusevic) their clock starts ticking. I wouldn't want to waste that time on a 5th OF spot.

I don't like this move... I have a feeling Drayton is making the call on this one.

Peanut said...

Ryan made much of the case I was going to, so I'll just defend my assertion that Taveras is dead in the middle of the group OremLK listed.

What are we most valuing here? Defense? Pinch-hitting? Pinch-running? I'm of the opinion that Taveras is pretty good at a couple of those.

Willy sucks at the plate. That's a given. But Taveras has put up better numbers in the majors than Yordany has in the minors. So Yordany is a better option because he's better defensively.

But here we are with Bogusevic, Locke, and DeLome. Two of them are left-handed, they're all younger than Taveras, and have put up decent-to-good numbers at the plate in the minors. Two of them haven't made it past AA, though, and the other has exactly 1.5 seasons under his belt as a hitter. Additionally, none of them plays a very good centerfield, and none of them is as good as Taveras on the bases. So they might be better bats, having never seen the Major Leagues or played in a reserve role, but that's the only advantage they have over Taveras. Their youth is nice, but I'm generally of the opinion that it's best not to throw Minor Leaguers straight into Major League bench roles.

You may notice that I didn't mention Bourgeois or Sullivan. I like both of those guys' skill sets better for the role than Taveras (I'd also consider Yordany over Willy). Hence my assertion that Taveras is in the middle of the pack among those players.

Ryan Sides said...

If we're comparing Willy to Abercrombie, give me Willy any day. Have you seen him run the bases? He looks lost!

And again, the bottom line is this: if any one of those younger guys shows he can hit, play good defensive and run the bases, we might not even hear about Willy anymore. But if they all fall on their faces (which is a good possibility), having a speedy outfielder for slot #5 when 1-3 are playing (literally) every day might not be a bad thing. (Or, call it the video game strategy. I had 50 steals with a benchwarmer one year who's sole job was to come in and steal bags...)

Maybe I should just say it this way: let's wait until this all pans out before we really get too carried away. If one of the "kids" hits .450 in spring training and is sent back to Round Rock and Willy's still OF5, then we can address it again.

The Constable. said...

+1s to Peanut, Sides, Kevin, and Patrick.

One thing we do need to note is exactly what Sides said: Taveras still has to earn a job. If he goes out and puts up a .300 OPS in Spring Training, while Bogusevic tears the cover off the ball, and Taveras makes the team, then I will go into something where the adjective is "apoplectic."

And I guess Taveras could still turn the contract offer down - he hasn't agreed to it. Yet.

BryanTSC said...

Unfortunately, I've been exiled to South Carolina the last 10 or so years, so my experience observing youngsters like Abercrombie is limited. I'm lucky if I catch the 15 seconds of coverage ESPN gives Houston each morning.

I'll agree that in a vacuum, there is no real reason to hate this (possible) move. Perhaps, at 29, he still has the ability to run his way back into being a useful player.

My point is that the Astros have a poor track record the last couple years when it comes to these types of deals, and usually have someone who really doesn't need much more development capable of providing a very similar level of production.

Surely we had someone (Maysonet) last year who was capable of giving us .000/.000/.000 off the bench over the first 1 1/2 months of the season.

Steve Duer said...

Minor league deals aren't guaranteed. He still has to prove he makes the roster (MLB or AAA). Also many of the minor league deals have a clause that if they aren't on the MLB roster by May 1, they have the right to become a free agent.

Think about this, I would rather have Willy T as a defensive replacement for Lee or running the bases for someone late in a game; while Bogie, Yordany, et al are getting everyday playing time in Round Rock. None of them are ready for MLB yet.

Plus from a $$$ you only have to pay him the minimum of 400K. The A's pick up the other 3.6 mil of his contract.

Oh and one more significant piece. They haven't signed him yet... they have just offered. There may be other offers out there.

BryanTSC said...

Alas, our points have been rendered moot; our ardent arguments are for naught.

The Constable. said...

+1 to BryanTSC for the link