From CincinnatiEnquirer.com:

Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty today announced the signing of free agent OF Willy Taveras to a two-year contract through the 2010 season.

“Willy Taveras fills two significant needs for our ball club, a speed base stealing threat at the top of the order and superior defense in center field,” said Jockettty.

Taveras, 27, in 133 games last season for the Colorado Rockies hit .251 and led the Major Leagues with 68 stolen bases and a .907 stolen base percentage (68-for-75).

His .907 stolen base percentage in 2008 was the highest by a Major League player, with a minium of 60 stolen bases, since those statistics have been compiled (since 1920 in the American League, since 1951 in the National League). The previous stolen base percentage record of .896 was established by the Pirates’ Tony Womack in 1997 (60-for-67).

Oh joy…

I’m not ready to pass complete judgment on this deal until I see the size of the contract, but I don’t think this improves the ’09 Cincinnati Reds one iota…

62 Responses

  1. rob in stl

    What were you hoping for? A Grady Sizemore acquisition?

  2. Phill

    Maybe not signing a player that will be misused due to misconceptions about speed.

    We just signed a two year faster version of Norris Hopper.

    Don’t know the money and I don’t really care. I’m not one to dwell on ‘oh he’s taking away money from the team so now they can’t sign such and such player’ I don’t believe that is true when talking millions. If we’re talking tens of millions then sure but a 4 mill contract isn’t going to stop a team from ponying up that extra few million for whatever star player they’re trying to get.

    OF as it stands Bruce, Taveras, Dickerson,Hopper.

    Like I said in the other post, I hope he can prove all our fears wrong and become a good player for the Reds.

  3. Cary

    I think it is disingenous to say this move does not improve the Reds, esp. when other authors on this blog have been in panic mode on who is going to play in the outfield. While Taveras is no .400 OBP leadoff man, he is an upgrade over the varieties that patrolled the OF last year.

    I would still go for Hairston, Jr. as well, even with getting Taveras, where he can play backup CF and utility IFer, but would not need to be relied upon as everyday.

    Taveras
    Dickerson
    Bruce
    Votto
    Phillips
    Encarnacion
    Gonzalez/Keppinger
    Hernandez/Hanigan

    Still needing another power hitting OFer to bump Dickerson. Defense is looking better as of today, though.

  4. Tom

    It looks like his last two seasons with Colorado are both anomlies. He’s not a .320 hitter or a .250 hitter. The best we can hope for is that he returns to his career numbers, which is pretty much what he put up with Houston his first two season, of .283/.331/.337/.668. This is pretty much what both James and Marcel projections are calling for. A sub .700 OPS player is never a good thing unless he carries a good OBP, which Willy doesn’t. At least he should carry about a league average OBP at the leadoff spot which would be a bit of an improvement on the .326 OBP the Reds got last season from the number one spot. League average for leadoff batters last season was .344. Let’s hope his defense in center is as Walt is advertising.

  5. KY Chip

    Hey, it could be worse. They could’ve re-signed Corey Patterson.

    Oh wait… I think they just did.

    Kurt — I don’t think you’ll be waiting ’til August 1.

    Whatever money is spent on Taveras is money that could’ve been better spent elsewhere.

    This will not end well.

  6. Chad

    I’m not a big fan of Dickerson, but isn’t there a better than even chance that Dickerson will be a much more productive player in 2009 than Willy Taveras?

  7. mhopp

    Agree, it’s another Dusty Baker favorite who is really FAST but can’t get on base. It’s a slight upgrade over Crappy Outterson but he is still a below average lead off hitter. Looks like another sub-500 season in Cincy in ’09

  8. preach

    “While Taveras is no .400 OBP leadoff man, he is an upgrade over the varieties that patrolled the OF last year”

    Actually, I don’t know where the concept of him being a good fielder is coming from. He’s average at best. Patterson was much more solid defensively. I have never been impressed with the angles he takes on balls. And he definately does not have the OBP to justify leadoff. He’s a decent fourth outfielder who should hit 7th or 8th when playing. Late inning replacement and pinch runner. I hope the contract reflects such.

    And I am a huge fan of speed and the stolen base. I value them much more than most people do, but if your OBP isn’t very high, what good will it possibly do in the leadoff spot.

  9. Chris

    “I think it is disingenous to say this move does not improve the Reds, esp. when other authors on this blog have been in panic mode on who is going to play in the outfield.”

    I don’t know who Cary is talking about, here. In any event, saying “we need 2 good OFs or we’re going to lose 100 games” doesn’t somehow justify signing Wily Tavares.

    This guy will make Marty Brennaman wet his pants. Other than that, he’s no better than what we already have in Chris Dickerson. Which ain’t enough to get you there.

  10. Chris

    It “improves the Reds,” in that playing Tavaras is better than playing with 2 OFs and leaving a spot in the batting order blank. Other than that, I can’t say I’m thrilled.

  11. preach

    off topic: but I see the Giants signed Randy Johnson to a, get this, one year deal (see, Walt, you CAN do that). That means that they now have three CY Young winners in their rotation along with two good looking youngsters in Cain and Sanchez.

    Now, can they score runs? I don’t think Sanchez would be cheap, but would he be worth making a run at? What about Cain? I’m thinking about acquiring someone and perhaps dealing for an outfielder that can actually hit the ball out of the infield.

  12. Mr. Redlegs

    Have you been to San Francisco? Have you been to that park? If you are a pitcher there’s a reason why you go there as there is a reason no pitcher in his right mind comes to Cincinnati unless he’s grossly overpaid.

    The GM is not an idiot. Some players will take a 1-year deal to play in a better all-around environment, especially when the ballpark is factored.

  13. Mr. Redlegs

    Other than Dickerson, what were the options for acquiring a leadoff batter from elsewhere? Pretty slim pickings.

    And this is NOT a Baker issue; this is a Jocketty issue. He was the first to call Taveras’ agent. He wanted the speed and defense. Have no idea why so many people think Baker dictates every roster move.

  14. Tom

    I’m sure that I will be a bit sick to my stomach when we hear what he signed for. Patterson got $3M last season. The Cubs just essentially signed the same player, Joey Gathright, for $.8M. I fully expect that Taveras’ salary will be closer to what Patterson got.

    To make matters even worse. Here’s a quote from Jocketty in regards to Hairston at the press conference announcing Tavares. “I talked to them before Christmas. He could end up being the left fielder if we can’t get that RBI man, which might be hard to do at this point. We may have a different type of team, where we rely on speed and defense and try to manufacture runs. We’ve still got some guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark — (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce and (Edwin) Encarnacion. But we’re going to a little bit different kind of team.”

    Yeah, the kind that finishes in the cellar again if you overpay Hairston also. Have mercy on Reds fans.

  15. preach

    Yeah, Tom. But just think how fast we can run from the dugout back onto the field……

  16. preach

    Also, nothing inspires confidence regarding a player like a comparison to Tony Womack.

  17. david

    Taveras’ career numbers in terms of AVG and OBP (.283/.331) mirror Jimmy Rollins (.277/.333) and Jose Reyes (.287/.336). He had a down year in 2008, that’s undisputable, but if the Reds traded for Rollins or Reyes nobody (maybe Chad or Chris) would be crying about OBP in the leadoff spot.

    Last time I checked Grady Sizemore, Ichiro, and Hanley Ramirez weren’t available.

    As for Jocketty’s comments regarding our OF construction, it may be posturing at this point. Who knows? There will be a number of players available as winter progresses.

    The only glaring mistake I can see at this point is that the Reds aren’t considering moving either Votto or Encarnacion to LF now but are instead set on acquiring an OF. There would be far more options open for the Reds if they were willing to look at 1B and 3B as well as LF.

    I would still love to see Votto moved to LF and a trade for Victor Martinez as a stop gap until Alonso is ready.

  18. Dallas

    The Reds signed an outfielder not named Adam Dunn…let the whining begin…

  19. Y-City Jim

    “Willy Taveras fills two significant needs for our ball club, a speed base stealing threat at the top of the order and superior defense in center field,” said Jockettty.”

    He has no business batting at the top of the order.

  20. Fireball

    I don’t feel great about this move, but I don’t feel horrible about it either. If Taveras can get on base a little above his career numbers, say around .350 OBP, then this is a decent move. Considering that he’s 27 and entering his prime years, that’s a least a decent possibility. If this deal isn’t for too much money (say around $5 milllion), this doesn’t preclude the Reds for going out and getting a right-handed RBI man, which they obviously still need.

    So, if the Reds still go out and get a Wigginton or a Baldelli, or even trade for a Dye, then this is not a bad move, as long as Taveras produces a decent OBP.

  21. David

    I dont know why my first post never stuck but to summarize Sizemore, Ichiro, and Ramirez werent available. Taveras has career avg and obp numbers nearly identical to Rollins and Reyes. I doubt if we acquired either of those guys we’d be having an obp discussion right now.

  22. earl

    A signing like this illustrates the two tier nature of clubs in the MLB. Cinci cannot afford to buy anything they really need so they just sign what they can afford and hope for the best.

    Taveras on those Astros or Rockies clubs was OK, as they had power out the yin yang. He can cover some ground in center, but I think his arm is not that hot. I seem to remember his arm coming up when the Rockies were in the playoffs a couple of years ago.

  23. preach

    I have a question about free agency signings. Please correct me if I am wrong, but if Taveras only has 4 years of service, wouldn’t the Reds have been able to sign him to a one year deal and then be able to re-sign him later as long as he is tendered?

  24. Y-City Jim

    It would be nice to know how much they signed him for.

  25. Matt B.

    Uh, Willy Taveras is not even a decent defender. First off, his throwing arm is absolutely pathetic. Second, his UZR/150 the past two seasons has been -17.4 and -9.7, respectively. So not only will he not clog the bases, he will also cost the Reds more runs than the average center fielder.

    Simply put, the Reds had two better options for CF: Dickerson and Hopper. They chose neither and instead signed a piece of junk who will hurt the team more than help.

  26. Phill

    I don’t know if I’d call Dickerson or Hopper better options but more like better potential. I know Hopper is up there in years but his and Dickerson MLB-ability are still unknown so I don’t feel too comfortable saying they are better.

    I also liked Jocketty’s quote that Taveras is a potential lead-off guy and that it will only happen if his OBP is like 2007 and not 2008. Maybe it’s just me but hearing that makes me feel a bit better about the signing.

  27. pinson343

    Fireball said: “this doesn’t preclude the Reds for going out and getting a right-handed RBI man, which they obviously still need.”
    I agree, but this obvious need seems to grow less and less obvious to WJ.

  28. brublejr

    The only really positive thing about Taveras is that he is only 27 and has experience. Not that either of that matters. Below I lined out the career average numbers for the CF position.

    Name: GB/FB LD% GB% FB% BB% K% OBP UZR/150 BA
    Taveras 1.91 18.4 53.6 28 5.6 16.5 .331 0.7 .261
    Dickerson 0.83 18.5 36.9 44.6 14.3 34.3 .413 3.8 .304
    Hairston 0.77 22.8 37.3 39.9 7.9 13.2 .330 9.4 .260
    Hopper 2.63 19.1 58.3 22.1 7.3 10.9 .367 12.6 .316
    Patterson 1.16 15.5 37.3 38.5 4.6 22.2 .291 8.6 .253

    So, Taveras is basically the same player as Hairston, but not as good in the field, puts it on the ground more, and can only play OF. Dickerson’s data is based on 1 year, and Hopper has not played regular enough to get a great indicator. In my opinion, Unless Hairston was overpriced, it was a bad decision. If they now sign Hairston it is an even worse decision. And if they paid him as much as CP last year, Walt should be fired.

    Now if Taveras bats 8th, his walk rate will increase along with his OBP. When he actually gets on, he could steal second, pitcher bunt him to third, and generate a run. In that case, I could live with him, but that means putting whoever is SS in the 2nd hole which causes problems as well.

  29. Tom

    It is absolutely not obvious that the Reds need a RH bat with power for LF. Their current projected starters include 3 LH (Votto, Bruce, and Dickerson) and 5 RH (Encarnacion, Phillips, Hernandez, Gonzalez, and Taveras). The RH power bat they keep saying they need will replace one of the LH hitters (Dickerson). The lineup would be 6 Rh to 2 LH at that point on a home field designed for LH power. The Reds need a productive hitter in LF, and it would make a heck of lot more sense at this point if he were LH. I’m really starting to lose faith in our new GM. The Tavares signing should be an ebarrasment for him if he paid anymore than $2M for Tavares over the two year deal.

  30. Cary

    This is a comment on various things I have read in the comments. I am not sure wherethe negative D information is coming from. The information I have shows Taveras to have both above average fielding and above average arm. What is the “pathetic arm” based on?

    Hopper and Dickerson should not be counted upon as major league option by a major league GM. While Taveras being a major contributor to a winning team is certainly debatable, Dickerson has barely put up 5th outfielder numbers in the minors and has had trouble staying on the field and Hopper is a 4th OFer at best on a good team. I like him as a bench contributor, but he is also coming off a serious hammy injury. With his only game being speed and hitting for average as a result, he also should not be relied upon to be an everyday player.

    If Walt left it at Dickerson/Hopper, he is committing malpractice based on what is projectable. Taveras has already done at the ML level what the Dickerson/Hopper proponents HOPE that they can do. I’ll take Taveras in that scenario.

    But it is good to see that the “serious” Reds fans now have their 2009 whipping boy!

  31. Bill

    From today’s Enquirer:

    General manager Walt Jocketty said as much when he said the club is still interested in bringing back Jerry Hairston Jr.

    “He could end up being the left fielder if we can’t get that RBI man, which might be hard to do at this point,” Jocketty said. “We may have a different type of team, where we rely on speed and defense and try to manufacture runs. We’ve still got some guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark – (Joey) Votto, (Jay) Bruce and (Edwin) Encarnacion. But we’re going to be a little bit different kind of team.”

    Anyone happy with the idea of Hairston in LF and Taveras in CF?

  32. Tom

    Please share your defensive information on Tavares. I’m finding conflicting information.

    Last season he was 19th out of 19 qualified CF in fielding percentage and 13th out of 19 in range factor.

    His universal zone ratings, mentioned above say he was below average the last two years in Colorado, but was above average his two years in Houston, and is average for his career. His FP over his career is just below league average .984 for Taveras vs .988 league average.

    Over his career his RF/9 seems to be just above average 2.63 vs leage average of 2.59. Last season he was dead on league average at 2.61.

    I’m not getting an overall picture that fits Walt’s glowing description of “He gives us very good defense in center field…”. He does appear to about an average CF, which isn’t all bad.

  33. brublejr

    Cary, Look at the UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games)

    05 +8.9
    06 +15.1
    07 -17.4
    08 -9.7

    This means in 05 and 06 with the Astros he was 8.9 and 15.1 runs above average, however the last two years has regressed to 17.4 and 9.7 runs below average.

    He was 27.1 runs below average the last two years in the field.

    This my friend is where the negative D information is coming from. If he could return to his Astro days, he defense is not a liability, but if he stays where he is it will hurt the team to have him in the field.

    By the way even CP had a -2.6 for the last two years so in the field over the last two years, CP was 24.5 runs above Taveras in the field.

  34. Brian

    I know the Reds signed him to two years but I would not be surprised is by midyear willy is platooning with Dickerson in some sense. Not saying that Dickerson will get all the starts against righties but I think he will get a start or two a week in willy’s place.

    As for starting Hairston in left that is just stupid. Yeah the defense in the OF would not be bad but we all know that Hairston will not hit over 320 again but will probably be hurt for the same portion of the season.

    I still think (and hope) that the comment about Hairston starting in left is just posturing and he is hopefully working with a team on a trade scenario for either a third baseman (Beltre) or a LF (Nady/Dye).

    I think that as soon as the rumors that the Yankees were going to move two of Nady, Matsui and Swisher the Reds should have been first in line to ask about Nady and Swisher.

    Lineup: Willy, Nady, Votto, Bruce, Phillips, EE, Hernandez, and Gonzalez

    If you are in fact not going for a huge RBI man but you want a good player I think Nady is a logical option.

  35. brublejr

    Of all the guys available for LF through trade or FA that has been discussed, I have put their 4 year total value runs and the average over the 4 year period.

    Hairston 25 = 6.25 per
    Swisher 103.5 = 15.87 per
    Nady 65.6 = 16.4 per
    Dye 89.7 = 22.4 per
    Dunn 99.1 = 24.78 per
    Burrell 113.3 = 28.33 per

    If you look just at last year it is quite surprising:
    Nady = 36.4
    Burrell = 28
    Hairston = 24.3
    Dye = 21.6
    Dunn = 19.5
    Swisher = 8.6

    Nady and Hairston both had career years, and Swisher’s was terrible. Burrell and Dunn were the most consistent and Dye and Swisher had one off year thrown in. Hairston had two negative years, Dye one, and the rest were all positive.

  36. Shawn

    Responding to earlier posts comparing Taveras to Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins: you left out some pertinent data. Such as, that Reyes is younger than Taveras, but now has six years in, and has had an on-base percentage greater than .350 in the last three: and that Rollins and Reyes also display power much greater than that possessed by Taveras, which is a key part of what makes them effective leadoff men, in that they can drive themselves in.

  37. David

    1) Taveras has posted a .367 OBP. That is higher than any Reyes has put in, though it was limited to only 372 AB.

    2) You are absolutely right about the power numbers.

    My point is limited to the fact that there is constant complaining with any move the Reds make, with the number one complaint against Taveras being AVG and OBP. Two of the best teams in the NL have leadoff hitters with almost identical AVG and OBP numbers.

  38. Matt B.

    I used a poor choice of words in my previous post. It remains to be seen whether Dickerson or Hopper will ultimately be better (I suspect they will be), but the Reds could have used either in CF and better spent this contract money somewhere else. Also, Taveras wastes a roster spot, especially if Hairston is brought back. There just isn’t a need for someone like Taveras on this club.

  39. LVW

    His biggest assets are the stolen base and covering vast amounts of territory in CF. The problem is he was a lot better fit in Colorado and Houston where there was lots of ground in center to cover and his so so OB% negates some of that stolen base value.

  40. Tom

    Here is a BBA scouting report on Taveras from late in 2004, just after his last full season in the minors.

    ======
    Round Rock manager Jackie Moore understandably ranked Taveras as one of the best position players in the league, having witnessed first-hand the affect the speedster had on his club’s opponents. Taveras terrorized TL foes with the best pure speed in the league (a 70 runner) and the ability to use it to get on base and steal once on the basepaths (55 steals in 66 attempts).

    Managers also liked how Taveras … played defensively in center field. He glided between the two gaps, covering vast tracts of ground and keeping runners honest with an average, accurate arm.

    However, while Taveras hit .335, most were skeptical of his ability to hit for average at higher levels. He has little power (.386 slugging, 16 extra-base hits) and doesn’t walk as much as he could to take advantage of his speed. “I usually like speed guys to run from the left side,” one manager said. “Taveras is righthanded, and I could really see righthanders just pound him inside in the big leagues. He’s more of a fourth outfielder for me because he doesn’t drive the ball, kind of like a Dave Roberts type.”
    ======

    Note that he walks less in the majors than he did in the minors. In the minors his AB/BB was at 9.5 which is about average and resulted in a minor league career .288 BA/.370 OBP. His AB/BB in the majors dropped to 17.0 which is bad and resulted in a .283 BA/.331 OBP for his career. Also worth noting, Tavares is a good bet to K 100 times given 600 ABs.

  41. Dallas

    “I dont know why my first post never stuck but to summarize Sizemore, Ichiro, and Ramirez werent available. Taveras has career avg and obp numbers nearly identical to Rollins and Reyes. I doubt if we acquired either of those guys we’d be having an obp discussion right now.”

    Because a lot people on this forum seem to be a real miserable lot. Ever seen Major League 2? This forum seems to be filled with dozens of the Randy Quaid character. They’ll do nothing but trash the entire organization until the Reds win a few games, then they’ll be back as the team’s “biggest fans.” Jesus Christ himself could be signed to play left field and someone on here would say his arm was below average and he didn’t walk enough.

  42. Jimmy James

    LOL. This team has done nothing but screw things up for a decade. Forgive me if I don’t give them the benefit of the doubt any longer.

    Also forgive me if I don’t expect below-average players to suddenly become above-average just because they put on the Cincinnati uniform. I’m hopeful, but I’m not stupid.

    Taveras is simply not a good player.

    And you are not paying attention if you think people here complain about every move. Good moves are applauded here; they’ve just been few and far between over the last decade. If you haven’t noticed, the Reds have been as bad as the Royals and Pirates.

    You were probably one of the ones on here saying “Quit complaining! Give Corey Patterson a chance before complaining!” There’s nothing wrong with calling a spade a spade.

    Oh, and another thing: the people here ARE the team’s biggest fans. Why would we care so much about a team, and about a lousy Taveras acquisition, if we didn’t love this team? Why would we be wasting time commenting here day after day, if we didn’t love this team?

  43. pinson343

    On Brian’s comment: “I think that as soon as the rumors that the Yankees were going to move two of Nady, Matsui and Swisher the Reds should have been first in line to ask about Nady and Swisher.”
    C. Trent reports on an interview with WJ that there has been talk with the Yankees about Nady and Swisher. Nady would be the preferred pickup obviously, but at a higher price. Swisher is a poor man’s Adam Dunn. He plays first base much better than the OF, leaving the option of moving Joey Votto to LF.

  44. Cary

    “His biggest assets are the stolen base and covering vast amounts of territory in CF. The problem is he was a lot better fit in Colorado and Houston where there was lots of ground in center to cover and his so so OB% negates some of that stolen base value.”

    The Reds will play and need to win games in parks where outfielders need to cover the gaps. This has been a weakness with the statues in left and right and fill-in CFers
    for the last two seasons. The Reds go on the road and play in larger parks and can’t cover the ground.

  45. Jimmy James

    Why not keep Corey Patterson, then? He’s a better defensive player than Taveras.

  46. Chris

    Dallas, you’re more than welcome to start your own Reds blog, where you can prove how big a fan you are by applauding moves like Willy Taveras and the like. Knock yourself out.

    Other than that, what Jimmy James and Preach said.

  47. Y-City Jim

    I curious about Taveras’ sudden base stealing prowess. Did he suddenly become a more intelligent base runner?

  48. Jose

    maybe he’ll pull a hairston
    and remember
    hes no patterson
    thats a plus

  49. Chad

    What are Jerry Hairston’s numbers over, say, his last 650 plate appearances?

    Hint: it isn’t good.

  50. earl

    I said it before, but I think Nick Swisher could be a good fit for the Reds. He is a switch hitter and is from Ohio. Swisher is coming off an off year, so the price is in the dollar store availability that the Reds can afford.

    Xavier Nady might be OK, he doesn’t have the potential upside of Swisher, who looked on the verge of busting out with Oakland.

    I don’t like the Taveras signing, but I understand it. The Reds went into Dollar General to get a free agent that had some actual MLB experience that could either play center or have some power, as the fear with having so many farm hands working the outfield is that one or two of them might regress to rookie ball. They couldn’t afford the latter, so they went with the former.

    Maybe Jocketty will get lucky, he did seem to make some budget signings like Eckstein, Womack and Grudzielanek with the Cardinals that panned out pretty good. (I can see the cracks your saying on Womack, but he had a pretty good year for the Cards, then moved back to normal when he left St Louis.)

  51. Matt B.

    I guess I was thinking of someone else before. Taveras’ arm, by most accounts, is above average, but that still doesn’t make up for his bad UZR/150.

  52. Chris

    Is UZR park-adjusted? I suspect the move from Enron to Coors may have caused the dramatic change in his defensive numbers from 06 to 07.

  53. pinson343

    Krivsky rightly got rid of Womack as fast as he could. Picking up Brandon Phillips helped.

  54. Chad

    I said it before, but I think Nick Swisher could be a good fit for the Reds. He is a switch hitter and is from Ohio. Swisher is coming off an off year, so the price is in the dollar store availability that the Reds can afford.

    Xavier Nady might be OK, he doesn’t have the potential upside of Swisher, who looked on the verge of busting out with Oakland.

    I think I agree with this. I’ve always been a fan of Swisher.

    Of course, his skill set is precisely the type that the mouth-breathers on WLW will be screaming about in complaint. He won’t be a popular man in Cincinnati.

  55. GregD

    “I doubt if we acquired either of those guys (Reyes or Rollins) we’d be having an obp discussion right now.”

    You’re right.

    Reyes career obp IS .336, but each of the past 3 years was .354, .354, .358. PLUS he had 72 extra base hits in 688 at-bats. PLUS he’s stolen 258 bases over the past 4 years at a 79% success rate. I would love Reyes on this team.

    Rollins career obp IS .333, but each of the past 2 years was .344, .349. PLUS he had 58 extra base hits in 556 at-bats. (the year before he had 88 and in 2006 he had 79.) PLUS he’s stolen 165 bases over the past 4 years at a 90% success rate. I would love Rollins on this team.

    Taveras career obp IS .331, but last year it was .308. PLUS he had a .296 SLG percent. SLG! He had 18 extra base hits in 479 at-bats, half of those in Coors field. He has 80 extra base hits in his 4-year career. He has stolen 168 bases over the past 4 years at a 82% success rate. (68 of those last year at 91%; the other 100 over 3 years at a 78% clip.)

  56. GRF

    Respectfully, I think the Rollins and Reyes comparisons are red herrings. As several people have pointed out, their power numbers and positional skills make them very different players than Taveras. For that reason, they are not on the market and were never options for us.

    I think the question should be does the Taveras signing make us better, given the other available options? I still say no, I would rather have Hopper and Dickerson take the ABs in centerfield. Neither is anything like a sure thing, but given Taveras’s numbers I think they have a chance to put up roughly comparable offensive values at a lower cost.

    What really worries me is all this talk that he “improves our defense” and gives us speed at the “top of the batting order” when the numbers don’t even remotely support either statement. Jockerty said the same thing about Hernandez’s defense and the numbers and the Orioles fans both suggest that is a joke. Maybe he has to say that, but it really seems to me like we are building a roster around replacement level veterans and cliches as opposed to some objective analysis of what these players are worth. If we are not going to contend this season (and none of these signings make me feel like we are) why get Hernandez, Rhoads and Taveras etc. as opposed to seeing if Dickerson, Hopper and Hanigan etc. can play?