UPDATE: 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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.