The Nats release Willy Taveras

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In early February, the Reds traded Willy Taveras to the A’s.  Within a week of that going down, the A’s released him.  Then the Nats signed him, but as of today they have joined the growing fraternity of teams who have realized that being fast is not the same thing as knowing how to play baseball, and now they too have given Willy Taveras his unconditional release.

It’s rare to find a player as poor as Willy Taveras is who have gotten as many chances as Willy Taveras has.  Three different teams have installed him at the top of their order and given him over 400 plate appearances at various times.  With the Nats washing their hands of him, perhaps we’ve finally come to a point where people realize that there is nothing less valuable in the world than a guy with no power who can’t get on base.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”