Phillies Sign Willy Taveras

Posted by Corey Seidman, Thu, June 03, 2010 01:42 PM | Comments: 21
Acquisitions, Posts

The Phillies signed outfielder Willy Taveras to a minor-league deal Thursday. Taveras will report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace DeWayne Wise, another veteran outfielder that the team had signed prior to the 2010 season.

Wise had an opt-out clause that allowed him to seek free agency if he did not find himself on the Phillies 25-man roster by June 1.

At least this writer wholeheartedly supports the Taveras signing. Willy adds very little with the stick, but he has a ton of speed, great range in the outfield, and a cannon for an arm.

Taveras has played all three outfield positions but is primarily a centerfielder. He began his career in Houston where he posted exceptional Ultimate Zone Ratings (UZRs) of 9.8 and 20.3 in his two full seasons at Minute Maid Park and its spacious center field.

As with nearly every outfielder that has ever played in the unique atmosphere of Colorado, the metrics didn’t favor Taveras at Coors Field, but he went right back to being an extremely productive defensive centerfielder after leaving Colorado for Cincinnati.

As a point of reference, note that Taveras and Shane Victorino have each played very close to 5,000 innings in the outfield in their respective big league careers, and Taveras has been worth exactly 3 more runs above replacement defensively than Victorino.

Taveras More Deserving than Dobbs

In my humble opinion, I believe Willy Taveras should have a spot on this major league roster sooner than September. The Phillies bench has been downright awful, hitting .221/.262/.291 in 351 collective plate appearances, and, if you can fathom it, the unit has been even worse than that.

The bench has hit into 11 double plays (Wilson Valdez has eight by himself) and, to make matters worse, Greg Dobbs, Ross Gload, and Ben Francisco have all been very shaky in the field.

Before the season started, I noted that signing Ross Gload made Greg Dobbs redundant and obsolete.You don’t need three left-handed hitting bench bats. Most teams don’t even have two.

Sure, we should applaud Dobbs for leading the NL in pinch-hits during the 2008 season, but since then he has hit .221/.276/.351 with 15 extra-base hits in 228 plate appearances.

Dobbs may have gone 22-for-62 as a pinch-hitter in 2008, but he has been 10-for-74 in that role since 2009 began, and there are no existing evidentiary signs that show us that the 2008 Greg Dobbs is more real than the ’09 and ’10 versions.

Taveras may not provide much value with his bat this season, but neither has Dobbs. Bringing up Taveras would at least give the Phils a bench player with exceptional speed to use as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.

If you can recall all the way back to the third game of the season, a game with the Nationals was lost late because the Phillies did not have any viable pinch-running options for the slow-footed Dobbs, who couldn’t score from first on a two-out double to right field in the 8th inning of a tie game. The Phils went on to lose 6-5. This is an example of why a pinch-runner is necessary.

Call me crazy, but I’ll take defensive value and baserunning value over no value at all.

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About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Thats a helluva signing. Rather have Dobbs than Gload though in that Dobbs can play third. Other than that, the the difference between Dobbs and Gload is really no difference. Yes, I’d like to see Taveras up here to replace one of those two guys.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Scotch Man

    For once me in Dipsy are in agreement. You don’t need both Dobbs and Gload. However, a speedy guy off the bench that can swip a few bags has value. If he has a nice few weeks in Lehigh, I’d say bring him up!

  • Posts: 0 The SHART Factor

    Taveras does not get on base, despite the fact that he can steal bases and he does not hit well for an average. Moreover, he can only play the outfield. His signing so far is no big deal. However, let’s see what he does with the Iron Pigs.


    Bart Shart

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    I would rather have Gload over Dobbs because with Jimmy and Polly healthy, Castro can play 3rd so again, you won’t need Dobbs.

  • Posts: 0 The SHART Factor

    The problem is that Jimmy might not be himself for a long time. That injury tends to repeat itself, as already demonstrated.

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  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    My vote is Gload over Dobbs also. It is time for Dobbs to pack his bags. He contributes almost nothing to this team right now. Gload can hit and really is the guy that was brought in to replace Stairs.

    If Taveras only hits .200 it’s an upgrade over Dobbs. Taveras’ lifetime avg is .274 so I would imagine that he would do better than .200. Dobbs this year is .148. I’m sorry…..but that doesn’t cut it for a guy that’s here to hit.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think Eric Bruntlett is available again.. ?

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I vote for Dobbs, at least for now. If he continues playing like crap, then you might consider bringing Taveras in a month or two to replace him on the bench (or whoever is playing poorly).

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Dobbs has had all year to prove that last year was a blip on the screen. For me, he’s out of chances.

    And Bruntlett would actually be a better option (I’m really joking) but at least HE can field and run. Dobbs is here for his bat….and his bat sucks.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    As The Shart Factor states, until Jimmy is at full strength, we need a spare infielder (an upgrade to Dobbs would be preferred, but right now, he’s all we got). PP is great when playing, but has a propensity to get dinged up as the season goes. Count him out for at least 15 more games this year, could be more if he doesn’t get breaks. Utley isn’t right – not just because he is the golden child and can do no wrong unless hurt, but he is swinging late on low 90′s fastballs – very uncharacteristic, even when slumping. Castro isn’t a spring chicken either – fine for a back-up, but probably already exceeded projected starts for the year.

    I’m usually unrealistically optimistic, but we have the potential for a cataMETric injury situation in the infield. Picking up Taveras is nice, but the need may be for another middle infielder (where’s Tad Iguchi when you need him?). Until then, Dobbs has to stay.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    What about Cody Ransom? Wasn’t he brought to the organization to play the infield? And he can hit a little I think?

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    Until J-Roll or Polly are healthy we have Castro, Valdez and why not bring up Ransom? He can handle the corner spots.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    As I remember, Ransom did a nice job filling in for A-Rod last year. At this point, give anyone a try. Make something happen. Light a spark.

  • Posts: 0 The SHART Factor

    Ransom is actually a decent suggestion and he could be a positive factor. How is he doing in the minors?

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I never understood all these lefty backups on a team that can’t hit lefties. It defies logic. When you rest Howard it would be nice to do it against lefties and have a righty play. Ditto with catcher although I do like Snyder’s defense.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Ransom is hitting .241 with 11 dingers in 195 abs. 14 errors.

  • Posts: 0 Bobby D

    I like the prospect of Taveras on the squad. This team needs to start swiping bags, he could help. I also think Ransom should be called up. Castro played well before getting hurt but hasn’t duplicated his early success. Valdez is, well, he’s poisonous with RISP.

  • Posts: 0 Luis Aguayo

    Amen to that signing… Put Taveras on the roster tomorrow and jet Dobbs, hes useless. A move like this may show the team mgnt means business and shake this slump? Boys gotta wake up!

  • I realizeeverything you’ve done here! amazing content.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    As stated many times before, Unless Cholly is willing to use the bench to spare the starters when actually playing well, they will still be a dead bench.

    Its okay to sit Chase, Ryan, and Werth every now and then to get guys at bats to keep them fresh. Cholly has done a great job over the years, but his mismanagement of the bench is obnoxious.

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