Uh… The Astros may re-sign Willy Taveras

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Taveras Ivy.JPGUPDATE: It looks like this thing might actually happen.  Bernardo Fallas of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros assistant GM David Gottfried contacted Taveras’
agent, Barry Praver, soon after the outfielder’s release on Tuesday.  A minor league contract was indeed discussed.

7:41pm: According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Astros general manager Ed Wade is open to the idea of bringing back outfielder Willy Taveras on a minor league deal.

Taveras (and the $4 million remaining on his contract) was released by the A’s this afternoon after garnering zero interest on the waiver wire.  The 28-year-old batted .240/.275/.285 in 404 at-bats last season for the Reds and, as Aaron noted earlier, has hit just .246./.293/.291 in 235 games over the past two seasons.

“Willy brings the
speed element and he’s a very popular guy in town and with our
organization,” Wade told Crasnick on Tuesday.

Taveras played for the Astros from 2004-2006 and never finished with an OPS over .675 or more than 25 extra-base hits.  It doesn’t seem like a wise pickup for an organization that should be handing any available playing time to youngsters, but this is Houston we’re talking about.  Wade and Co. have a long history of questionable moves, which is why the club is in such a poor state heading into the 2010 season.

Come to think of it, the perennially disappointing Taveras should fit right in with the Astros’ crop of aging, overpaid veterans.  It’s going to be a long season in oil country.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.