Willy Taveras was cut loose by the Rockies after a disappointing 2008 season and immediately snapped up by the Reds to for a tidy $6.25 million contract. After Corey Patterson left Cincy, Dusty Baker obviously needed an unproductive center fielder who doesn't hustle or hit his weight to fill his place. Taveras fits the role to a T. He's also Dominican and enjoys his salsa music a bit too much. Just ask Reds beat writer Hal McCoy:
Taveras doesn't get on base. When he does he doesn't steal when it is needed. He was brought in to be a leadoff hitter and couldn't do it and is now batting second. And he is below average in the field. What can Taveras do? He has a nice stereo set in the clubhouse that plays loud, headache-inducing salsa music.
And holy cahooties. Taveras just hit a ground ball to the mound and trotted toward first base. Didn't run. Jogged. Stopped before he got to the bag. Manager Dusty Baker immediately yanked him from the lineup, replacing him with Laynce Nix.
The Reds later announced that Taveras has a strained right quadriceps muscle. I don't question the injury, but it was awfully convenient.
As far as I'm concerned, and many other fans are concerned, Taveras can rot on the bench the rest of the season. I've seen nothing to merit the millions the Reds have flushed down the toilet when they brought this guy in.
Taveras' on-base percentages over the past three years: .367 in 2007 (good!) .308 in 2008 (uhh) .273 in 2009 (holy crap). He's never approached league average in OPS and has made 11 errors to go along with his 13 outfield assists over the past two seasons. UZR rates him as merely average over the past three seasons.
Maybe the Reds signed Willy because fella stole 68 bases at a 90% clip last season. But for a leadoff hitter who draws a walk about three times a month, the potential for him to steal a base are about the same as the chances we go a day without poking fun at the Mets.
But worst of all, Taveras' salsa music is just too loud for the 92-year-old McCoy's tender eardrums. Holy cahooties, indeed.
(via OMGReds.com, the only Reds blog worth reading)