A’s and Reds swap unwanted Taveras and Miles
ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports the A’s have acquired Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales from the Reds for Aaron Miles and a player to be named later or cash. Miles went from Chicago to Oakland in the December trade for Jake Fox because the Cubs wanted to dump his $2.7 million salary, but he lasted all of two months with the A’s and has now been swapped for Tavaras and his $4 million salary. Taveras lost his starting job to Drew Stubbs after batting .240/.275/.285 in 140 games last season to rank among the worst hitters in baseball. He still has plenty of speed and plays good defense, so unlike Miles he’s not totally useless. After five seasons in the minors Rosales finally got an extended look in the majors last year, but struggled and projects as little more than a solid bench player. In other words, the A’s-Reds swap may contain the least combined value of any three-player trade of major leaguers in baseball history. Oakland “wins” in the same sense that someone trading a month-old turkey sandwich for a year-old ham sandwich is technically getting the better deal, but in the end you don’t want to eat any of it. Mostly the trade makes me wonder what the A’s are doing, because they just got finished lessening the outfield logjam by trading Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Now they’re dealing for Taveras (although they may end up just releasing him) and are reportedly close to signing Gabe Gross, which would leave the following outfielders to sort through: Coco Crisp Rajai Davis Ryan Sweeney Travis Buck Jack Cust Willy Taveras Gabe Gross Eric Patterson Cust will be primarily a designated hitter, but that’s still an awful lot of bodies for three spots and most of them have similar skill sets. Which is to say they run fast, play good defense, and can’t really hit. If the A’s use Cust at DH and Crisp in center field they could form a pair of lefty-righty platoons with Sweeney-Davis and Gross-Taveras, but that would a) devote six roster spots to the outfield, b) still leave Buck and perhaps Patterson at Triple-A, and c) be horrible offensively. One of the most-quoted lines in Moneyball comes when a scout questions a player’s physique and general manager Billy Beane defiantly responds: “We’re not selling jeans here.” However, after looking at that list of outfielders it’s tough not to conclude that Oakland is now very much in the denim business. UPDATE: Taveras won’t be doing any modeling for the A’s, denim or otherwise. They’ve already designated him for assignment.