Rockies sign Willy Taveras to minor league deal

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The Rockies have signed outfielder Willy Taveras to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, according to the team’s Twitter feed.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Taveras, who batted .320 with a .367 on-base percentage and .748 OPS with the Rockies during the team’s World Series run in 2007. Baseball’s version of a rotten hot potato, this is actually Taveras’ sixth organization in the past year.

He signed with the Nationals last February after being designated for assignment by the A’s, but was released last May after batting .200 over his first 35 at-bats with the club. He had brief minor league stints with the Phillies, Braves and Rangers from there, but didn’t find his way back to the major leagues.

Though the 29-year-old outfielder offers plenty of speed and defensive ability, he has been one of the least productive players at the plate since the start of the 2008 season, putting up a lowly .581 OPS, the lowest during that timespan among players with at least 1,000 plate appearances.

Here’s the ugliness in full detail:

1. Willy Taveras – .581 OPS

2. Cesar Izturis – .596 OPS

3. Jason Kendall – .635 OPS

4. Bobby Crosby – .637 OPS

5. Andy LaRoche – .637 OPS

6. Brendan Ryan – .641 OPS

7. Gerald Laird – .644 OPS

8. Carlos Gomez – .647 OPS

9. Ronny Cedeno – .649 OPS

10. Pedro Feliz – .651 OPS

Good grief. Sorry to ruin your dinner, but this is a boring Monday.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.