2013 Reds / Willy Taveras OBP Watch

The Reds were trying to acquire Willy Taveras again

Not literally, but the 2013 version.

Reds’ GM Walt Jocketty revealed in an interview at Redsfest this weekend that the Reds were on the verge of trading for Ben Revere, a player who is hard to distinguish from Taveras.

Revere is a pure slap-hitter. In over 1000 plate appearances, he has only 33 extra-base hits, with no home runs. That’s less power than Taveras. Less power than Willy Taveras. He hits more ground balls and has less power than any other hitter in MLB.

Also like Taveras, Revere is laughably aggressive at the plate. His walk-rate (5.4%) was similar to Taveras (5.1%) and is way below league average (8.2). Not exactly what you’re looking for in a leadoff hitter. As we’ve pointed out many times here, the problem with an OBP that heavily depends on batting average is that AVG fluctuates quite a bit. Taveras hit .320 in 2007 and .240 for the Reds. Walk-rates don’t slump much. Revere’s batting average (.278) was about the same as Taveras (.274). Revere steals bases about as much as Drew Stubbs although he gets caught stealing quite a bit more.

Is Revere an elite defensive centerfielder? Nope. His positive defensive stats come from playing the corner outfield last year while Denard Span played center. He’s fast, but the Twins GM recently admitted publicly that Revere has a below average arm. He is eerily similar to the Willy Taveras the Reds acquired in 2009.

[Shin Soo Choo, the Indians' lead-off hitter last year who is now on the trade market, has a career OBP of .381, walk-rate of 11.4%, hits 20 HR/year, averages 88 extra base hits every 1000 PA, steals 20 bases/year and plays strong defense. Choo is a lead-off hitter worth pursuing.]

Who were the Reds going to give up to acquire Ben Revere? We can only speculate. But the Twins traded Revere to the Phillies for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. Worley (25) is a serviceable #5 starter and May is the consensus #1 prospect in the Phillies system. Think Leake and Cingrani.

Think about that, did the Reds almost trade Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani for Ben Revere? /smh/

It’s hard to decide whether to feel an immense sense of relief that this calamity was avoided or serious discouragement that it was the Twins, not the Reds, who saved us.

What is clear is that the centerfield/lead-off position continues to be a devastating blind spot for the organization. To their credit, the Reds in recent years have done an excellent job valuing and acquiring big pitching arms and tight defensive players. But to say the Reds are old-school regarding centerfield/lead-off is a disservice to the idea of old-school. The Reds are Paleozoic. They shop for batting average and speed. They ignore the skill of walking, the stat of OBP or the value of hitting with even doubles-power.

And sadly, the evidence is mounting this isn’t just Dusty Baker’s outlook, it’s also Walt Jocketty’s. Jocketty, after all, was the Reds’ GM who signed Willy Taveras.

169 thoughts on “The Reds were trying to acquire Willy Taveras again

  1. @CI3J: I am surprised that anyone would advocate trading young pitcing prospects with Hamilton in the wings. Trading young pitching prospects for position players seems a like a cardinal sin for mid-market teams.

    If this deal is as advertised, I love it.

    I love that Reds weren’t dissuaded from pursuing arguably the best lead off hitter available just becasue he is slotted as a corner outfielder and they resigned Luddy.

    I love that the Reds pick up a prospect to even out the years of player control gap.

    I love that the Reds have a shot at resigning Choo or getting a good extra draft pick after the one year.

    This deal will get even better if we find out Bruce is going to be the one trying CF and not Choo. It makes far more sense from a defensive standpoint.

  2. If Choo has an OBP of .380 in front of Joey Votto, he’d score 100+ runs. Choo also hits 20 home runs/year and maybe more in GABP. He also can swipe a base or 20. Outfield arm as good as Bruce. He may not be as good as Stubbs in CF, but his offense will WAY more than make up for it. And he can bat FIRST even for Dusty!

  3. @RC: Sign me up for a Choo deal. Sign. Me. Up. Honest to God, it’s like only giving up Didi (surplus). Nobody really wants Stubbs and Billy Hamilton is ideally there in the future. Love it.

  4. I long ago gave up on Stubbs, who I think should be non-tendered, so to me it is Gregorius for Choo, and a very good trade. I actually wanted them to move Cozart to center and play Gregorius at short, but Choo would be better.

    Any word on whether Choo played any centerfield in the minors or in Korea? He has an excellent arm.

  5. Of course total radio silence from Fay on the deal. He hasn’t even issued a single tweet today.

    You would think avoiding tough issues and lobbing softball questions in your career as a beat writer when earn a couple of scoops here and there . . .

    • Of course total radio silence from Fay on the deal.He hasn’t even issued a single tweet today.

      You would think avoiding tough issues and lobbing softball questions in your career as a beat writer when earn a couple of scoops here and there . . .

      In all fairness to John Fay for all we know he’s watching a movie or on an airplane with his phone off. It’s just been a few minutes.

      • In all fairness to John Fay for all we know he’s watching a movie or on an airplane with his phone off.It’s just been a few minutes.

        It’s been about 2 and half hours since it broke. That is a long time on such a hot story. I am (1) disappointed he wasn’t an initial source (of course it came from Cleveland, Walt’s office is a cone of silence) but (2) annoyed that he hasn’t chimed in yet. Almost 3 hours is an eternity for reporter and breaking news.

  6. @al: What if Billy Hamilton isn’t ready in 2014? Cross that bridge when you come to it. For now the priority is the 2013 World Series. They can address CF again next winter, possibly through the trade market.

  7. @rightsaidred: Agreed. I wondered aloud about trading Cozart before. Trading either Cozart or Didi would have been ok in various circumstances, but I like that we have a solid year of knowing what Cozart brings to the team vs. having to find out more first with Didi. I think ultimately you trade a little less defense with Cozart instead of Didi for likely more stick.

  8. Now a three team deal with the DBacks, presumably with Didi Gregorius going to Arizona. Fine with me.

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