The Nats' Love Don't Cost A Thing
In November, the Nationals contacted Julian Tavarez, inviting him to spring training on a non-guaranteed minor league contract. Tavarez, 35, said no.
But Tavarez kept on waiting. Spring training neared, and the right-hander was still very much unemployed. After throwing a scoreless 1-1/3 innings for the Dominican WBC team, the Nationals called again, offering the same deal. This time, Tavarez saw things in a different light.
Or rather: the light was a little hazy, perhaps with some lasers flashing.
"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavarez said told a group of reporters. "When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me."
Again, Tavarez has no guarantees. Though he has experience as a reliever and starter, he's here to get a crack at a bullpen spot. Speaking this morning, Tavarez offered something of a sales pitch: He's durable. He's willing to fill any role. He's versatile.
(Except when it comes to pop culture references about curvaceous women.)
"I would like to be a starter, but it's like my father said: 'You want Jennifer Lopez, but does she want you? No.' You just take whatever she is giving to you. So I just take whatever they give to me," Tavarez said. "They give to me as a long man, I take it as a long man. Set up man, I take it. Starter, I take it. I can do whatever."
By the way, acting GM Mike Rizzo explained that Tavarez doesn't yet have his visa. At some point, he'll have to go back to the Dominican for a day to get all the paperwork taken care of. But in the meantime, it's not an issue; Tavarez maintains an official residence in Florida, and major leaguers do not receive their first paychecks until April.
(*) Special thanks to MASN's Pete McElroy for providing the quotes. I was off talking to some others in the clubhouse when JT held court.
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