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Nationals sign Willy Taveras to minor-league deal

Feb 15, 2010, 1:50 PM EDT

When the A’s traded for and then almost immediately released Willy Taveras last week I wrote: “Expect him to land a bench gig at the minimum salary with a team that likes outfielders who run fast and make tons of outs.”
Apparently the Nationals fit that description, because this afternoon they signed Taveras to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. Washington has now invited approximately 10,000 recognizably veteran names to camp, with Taveras being joined by guys like Eddie Guardado, Miguel Batista, Chris Duncan, Kevin Mench, Eric Bruntlett, Logan Kensing, Joel Peralta, Jamie Burke, and Jerry Owens.
Taveras’ primary competition should be Owens because they’re essentially the same player and keeping both good-glove, no-hit speedsters around doesn’t make sense, especially with the speedy and offensively capable Willie Harris already around as the team’s fourth outfielder. The bigger question is how many more random veterans the Nationals can sign before they run out of double-digit uniform numbers to hand out.

  1. Positively Half St. - Feb 15, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    I didn’t think Owens had a chance in the world before this, and I honestly don’t believe Taveras should hold out much hope, either. My only hope for all the veterans is that one or two have such good springs that Mike Rizzo feels comfortable making a trade or two.

  2. Todd Boss - Feb 15, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Tell me again what the downside is to inviting veterans to your camp? Or to sign guys to minor league non guaranteed contracts?
    Is it just because its the Nationals?’s constant whipping boy no matter what they do?
    Perhaps if MLB hadn’t criminally destroyed our farm system, or if Loria hadn’t been allowed to take the entire scouting department when he sold the team, or if we’d managed to get a somewhat reputable GM instead of Bowden for the past four years we’d be in a position to count on our farm system or to have better FA signings.
    Of course, its easier not to mention stuff like that; makes it easier to write throw-away indefensible insults to the team.
    Guardado will be our Loogy or will be released; no harm there. Batista seems to be a great long-man/mop up reliever with his rubber arm. Duncan would be a steal if he regains his 25hr power from just 2 years ago. Mench provides good competition for our AAAA type outfield prospects in Bernadina/Maxwell. Same for Bruntlett. Kensing was *already* on our roster having been acquired in a trade w/ Florida last season. Same with Burke (we traded for him last september to provide Catcher coverage). I see nothing wrong with any of these ST invites. Imagine if one of these moves pays off and we get the next Kyle Lohse-type reclamation project.

  3. Phil - Feb 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Are we sure Bowden’s actually gone? With the Nats signing speedy outfielders and scrap-heap arms, sure looks like his influence lives on.

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