Reds Trade Willy Taveras

willy-taverasThe Reds have sent centerfielder Willy Taveras and infielder Adam Rosales to the Athletics for utilityman Aaron Miles and a PTBNL.

This trade has perked up the ears of some Mets fans and pundits, who are now wondering if it signals an opportunity for the Mets to trade Angel Pagan and a bag of balls to Cincy for Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, and perhaps even Joey Votto.

Such as it goes in that solar system where the planets revolve around Flushing.

In reality, I doubt highly that Taveras’ exodus to Oakland has anything to do with another deal for the supposedly cash-strapped Reds and everything to do with shedding some salary while making room for rookie Drew Stubbs.

The only place where the Mets come into the conversation is to ask why they traded Brian Stokes for Gary Matthews, Jr. if Taveras was available?

Yes, we would have gone ape on the Mets if they acquired Taveras — whose lack of patience at the plate makes Jeff Francoeur look like Rickey Henderson and whose power makes Luis Castillo seem like Barry Bonds. But in comparison to Matthews, Taveras makes more sense — if, of course, we believe the Mets are truly dedicated to building a team around defense and speed.

Offensively, Taveras wouldn’t provide much at all. He’s an over-aggressive singles hitter whose OBP is directly tied to his batting average. In fact his batting is similar to Argenis Reyes, the guy who “always was in the middle of something”. When he does get on base, however, he is a major threat to steal and score. Not only can he fly, but he’s an intelligent baserunner who gets great jumps, gets good reads on line drives, routinely takes the extra base, and rarely suffers from vapor lock or other boneheaded baserunning blunders we are all too familiar with as Mets fans. In fact it wouldn’t be crazy to suggest he’s a better all-around baserunner and basestealer than Jose Reyes.

Defensively, Taveras has few peers. Like his baserunning, he gets good reads and jumps, and makes use of his speed to outrun balls others can’t reach. He makes few errors, hits the cutoff man, throws to the correct base, and even gets a half-dozen assists per year.

Because of his inability to get on base, his salary ($4M) is too high — Matthews at $1.5M is cheap in comparison. But you get what you pay for, right? One other problem with Taveras was he suffered multiple nagging leg injuries last year, so there is the risk that, at 28 years old, he could be slowing down — and without his legs, he has zero value.

Should the Mets have traded for Taveras instead of Matthews? I don’t know, maybe. As mentioned before, we still would’ve killed them for it, but if you really want to connect the Mets and the Reds, Taveras was the most realistic possiblity.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Timo February 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    WT’s A’s career was short lived. It didn’t make sense with Billy Ball and WT’s low OBP. Maybe he can’t get traded and the Mets sign him for cheap and trade Angel Pagan.
    “The Athletics like the flexibility they have added with the acquisition of Adam Rosales from the Reds for Aaron Miles. The A’s were forced to take on the $4 million contract of Willy Taveras and promptly designated him for assignment.”
  2. Paul February 2, 2010 at 7:18 pm
    I think Gary Matthews Jr. was a better deal than Willy Taveras,given salary considerations.

    If he gets released, I’d be in favor of offering him a minor league deal though.

  3. isuzudude February 3, 2010 at 7:42 am
    Hmm..I remember some insightful mind bringing up Tavares as a possible 4th/5th OF for the Mets a while ago on this very blog. Who was that again? 😉

    Some may have a difference of opinion, but I’d rather Tavares than Matthews, Jr. In my mind Pagan is more than capable of handling the CF job until Beltran returns – whether that be in May, August, or 2011. So acquiring a 4th/5th OF who could challenge Pagan for the job was not my priority; however, I think that’s the reason the Mets opted to trade for Matthews, Jr. It’s debatable if Matthews still has the skillset to be a starter, especially now playing in the cavernous CitiField. But it’s not debatable that Matthews has had the better career than Tavares, whether it be PED-enhanced or not. And that’s what I believe the Mets are looking at and hoping for – a Matthews resurgence. Excuse me while I remain pessimistic.

    Tavares would have been the ideal fit. The areas of the game in which he excels over Matthews are the areas in which the Mets should be concentrating on improving themselves. Like defense, speed, fundamentals, and youth. It would have been hard for the Mets to know that Tavares would have been available for almost nothing back when they made the Matthews trade, but in retrospect it looks like now they could have held on to Stokes, or traded him for something else useful, while plucking Tavares, either from the Reds for a player akin to Aaron Miles (Anderson Hernandez?), or from the A’s for cash. And much like I made the prediction (and have already been proven half right) that Ryan Garko would sign for less and have a better season than Fernando Tatis, I’ll make the same prediction for Willie Tavares and Gary Matthews Jr.

  4. Timo February 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm
    isuzudude, i have to agree with you on this. You make very valid points about Tavares vs. Mathews & Garko vs. Tatis. However i still have to disagree with you about Pagan. I know Pagan’s number are there but i don’t like him. he’s like Daniel Murphy. These 2 guys are OK players but the Mets front office paints them as valuable pieces of the organization. The Mets are forcing them on us to like. I guess they do this because the Mets really don’t have any young talent to look forward to. We have F-Mark who is always hurt & a couple of OK pitchers.
  5. DC Niner February 4, 2010 at 11:30 am
    isuzudude: You are the most self centered and obnoxious of all the Met fans in the entire world. congratulations on your horrible team. You deserve it the most. no wonder most people in NY area root for the Yankees. You chase them to the slums of the Bronx. Of course that’s better than the parking lot and garbage dump that is Flushing.
  6. joejanish February 4, 2010 at 11:46 am
    DC Niner: the comments section of this blog is for voicing opinion on the Mets, not for baiting and criticizing other commenters.

    Though, since you started to engage, I will end it here by replying. Congratulations on singlehandedly lowering the collective image of Nationals fans. I for one hope that the entire DC fan base is not represented by your infantile behavior on this blog.

    To the rest of you, my suggestion is to ignore personal attacks, as they add nothing to the conversation — and eventually I will delete them.

    Feel free to criticize the Mets all you want, but if you have a personal issue with another commenter, “take it outside” and away from this blog. Thanks.

  7. isuzudude February 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm
    Unlike DC Niner, I have better things to do with my time than troll on opposing teams’ websites and lure people into pointless and juvenile squabbles. Not sure how my last post can be construed as ‘self-centered and obnoxious,’ but I’m truly sorry you feel that way. Perhaps if we make you so angry at the world on this blog you should just head elsewhere. Happy trails!