A's and Reds swap unwanted Taveras and Miles

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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports the A’s have acquired Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales from the Reds for Aaron Miles and a player to be named later or cash.
Miles went from Chicago to Oakland in the December trade for Jake Fox because the Cubs wanted to dump his $2.7 million salary, but he lasted all of two months with the A’s and has now been swapped for Tavaras and his $4 million salary.
Taveras lost his starting job to Drew Stubbs after batting .240/.275/.285 in 140 games last season to rank among the worst hitters in baseball. He still has plenty of speed and plays good defense, so unlike Miles he’s not totally useless. After five seasons in the minors Rosales finally got an extended look in the majors last year, but struggled and projects as little more than a solid bench player.
In other words, the A’s-Reds swap may contain the least combined value of any three-player trade of major leaguers in baseball history. Oakland “wins” in the same sense that someone trading a month-old turkey sandwich for a year-old ham sandwich is technically getting the better deal, but in the end you don’t want to eat any of it.
Mostly the trade makes me wonder what the A’s are doing, because they just got finished lessening the outfield logjam by trading Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Now they’re dealing for Taveras (although they may end up just releasing him) and are reportedly close to signing Gabe Gross, which would leave the following outfielders to sort through:
Coco Crisp
Rajai Davis
Ryan Sweeney
Travis Buck
Jack Cust
Willy Taveras
Gabe Gross
Eric Patterson
Cust will be primarily a designated hitter, but that’s still an awful lot of bodies for three spots and most of them have similar skill sets. Which is to say they run fast, play good defense, and can’t really hit. If the A’s use Cust at DH and Crisp in center field they could form a pair of lefty-righty platoons with Sweeney-Davis and Gross-Taveras, but that would a) devote six roster spots to the outfield, b) still leave Buck and perhaps Patterson at Triple-A, and c) be horrible offensively.
One of the most-quoted lines in Moneyball comes when a scout questions a player’s physique and general manager Billy Beane defiantly responds: “We’re not selling jeans here.” However, after looking at that list of outfielders it’s tough not to conclude that Oakland is now very much in the denim business.
UPDATE: Taveras won’t be doing any modeling for the A’s, denim or otherwise. They’ve already designated him for assignment.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

Associated Press
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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.