We have a Taveras, whether we wanted it or not, now what?
It appears the Reds have this off-season:
1. Addressed the pen
2. At least treaded water at Catcher, although I think they will be improved there
3. Added the CF/lead-off hitter they apparently thought they needed
How to maximize their chances of being competitive given the market and what Jocketty is professing to want this team to be?
A few thoughts:
1. Taveras' whole game is speed. Nothing else. Just speed. Unfortunately, the Reds have brought a guy who can't slug to a park that requires slugging. What to do? This was touched on in the Taveras thread by mth, I believe, but worth a longer look. Given that bloop hits will be fewer for Taveras in the much tighter GABP dimensions as opposed to Coors dimensions, in order to maximize what he does, I think they need to figure out what to do about the infield. In the olden days of yore, when Astroturf roamed the land, guys like Tavares would carve out extra hits with so-called "baltimore chops" and grounders that would find holes in the infield as nothing slowed them down. Should the Reds look into shaving the grass real low on the infield? Maybe not water it is as much? Would doing that help to maximize what Tavares does?
2. If the Reds WERE to do that, they would need markedly better defense at SS than they currently have. Unless Alex G really can come back and be what he was, the Tavares signing puts a permium on them acquiring a SS who can pick it and hit it. Time to re-knock on the Braves' door re: Escobar?
3. If this is to be a "pitching and defense" team, then they need more pitching too. Spend the money on a Sheets, say. Take a chance at putting another hoss into the rotation.
4. At some point the LF hole will be filled. Let's hope that is at least an .825 OPS type bat. And he better be able to field, even though it is not a defensive position, since this team will be living on defense.
If they make those kinds of changes, it would help, I think. If they are really going to embrace the Tavares, there have to be moves that accompany it that make sense.
A lot of the frustration that many of us have with the organzation is that it is hard to discern a plan, and if there is one, understanding the approach to putting the plan into place.
It would appear Walt thinks he has addressd up-the-middle issues with Ramon H and Willy T. If so, he needs to finish that off and deal with the gaping hole at SS. And he needs to do what he can to make GABP a little more friendly to a team with less of a pure SLG approach. That would be my hope for the remainder of the off-season. Maximize the return on Tavares, whatever that may be, configure the team to truly be "pitching and defense" if that is the approach, and give it a shot. What I don't want is them to go halfway on the approach. Commit to it and make it work, if that's the plan. Show a greater organizational commitment to it. And let the fans know for certain that is the approach.