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Willy Taveras sent down for Mike Morse

The Nationals designated outfielder Willy Taveras for assignment and recalled utility player Mike Morse from Class AAA Syracuse tonight, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. Morse will be in Denver for Sunday's game against the Colorado Rockies.

Taveras, whom the Nationals signed to a minor league contract this season, will go through waivers. If he clears, Taveras will have the option to accept the assignment and remain with the Nationals organization or refuse the assignment and become a free agent.

Late Saturday night, Taveras, 28, was undecided. Taveras's wife is pregnant, and he wants to speak with his family before deciding. In accepting the news, Taveras was classy and professional, smiling as he hugged his teammates.

"Just say, 'Thank you,' " Taveras said. "I was professional about it. We'll see what happens. I didn't get the chance that I would like, but you got to make your move. It's okay. I wasn't playing much either. I don't know what to say."

Taveras, who has a career .320 on-base percentage, went 7 for 34 with a triple and two walks, appearing in 25 games for the Nationals this season. "I would have loved to get more opportunity, but it didn't happen that way," Taveras said. "I understand. I believe in myself. I didn't get the chance I thought I was going to get, but it's all good. I'm professional, and I'm going to keep working hard. I'm still pretty young. I think there's a lot of baseball left in me."

Morse had been rehabbing a calf strain in Syracuse, where he hit .265 with three home runs in 14 games. Morse made the Nationals out of spring training, but he made only six plate appearances before straining his calf.

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 15, 2010; 11:42 PM ET
 
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Comments

It's a tough business this professional baseball stuff, and while I'm not a fan of Taveras and not that sad to see him go, I appreciate your shedding some light on the human side of these kind of moves, Adam.

Posted by: souldrummer | May 16, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

As much as everyone likes moves like this, it's tough sometimes to remember these are real people just like you and me with families to support. Willy seems to be handling this like a true professional, and I wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up.

Posted by: thepostischeap | May 16, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

We should remember that in the early series at Citi Field against the Mets, Willy drove in all 4 runs in the 4-3 victory (which was saved by Willie Harris' great catch in the 9th inning). Given Taveras' weak bat, however, this day was going to come sooner or later. I hope he can prosper in the future, with the Nats, or elsewhere.

Posted by: bertbkatz | May 16, 2010 4:46 AM | Report abuse

I am glad to see Tavares go so that Mike Morse can come back. I wish him luck with his family, and if he stays with the Nats in some capacity, I hope he finds some way to improve his game.

If not, he average $2M in salary in 2008 and 2009. If he showed some restraint with that kind of pay, he should have some flexibility in figuring what to do with his life. This is the kind of situation which makes me glad for the crazy salaries- good guy with marginal skills puts it together just long enough to set his family up for the long term.

My favorite example of that was Tim Redding, but then again, he has held on to feed at the banquet table longer than I thought he would.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | May 16, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Sheinin has a feature profile on Harper in the dead tree version today, addresses the supposed issue of Harper's character.

What jumped out at me was what happened after Harper showed up the ump in a game. Sheinin writes that within seconds, his father made his way from the stands to the side of the College of Southern Nevada's dugout, got in his face, and bawled him out in front of his teammates.

Story goes on to say that his father's an ironworker, helped build the Las Vegas strip, laying rebar in 120-degree heat. So I suspect he's not a man to be trifled with.

Harper's 17. He may well be a jerk now - what 17-year-old isn't? - but it sounds like he has the family in place to help him mature.

Draft him.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

gilbertbp: There are a lot of 17 yr. old's who aren't jerks it just depends on how you're raised budding pro superstar or not,i was happy to read that his dad didn't allow him to get away with showing up the umpire, look his parent's let him drop out of high school to pursue a baseball career so Bryce has the idea that he like a lot of wannabe's think he's entitled that being said some thing's stood out in the article he goes to church,the Harper's eat dinner together as a family,hopefully those things will keep him grounded as much as someone in the limelight can be grounded.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I didn't realize how young Willy is - I had pictured him as a player who was once better on the downside. He has some skills, unfortunately not the whole package. I like him in AAA in reserve, or maybe he can hook on to a weak defensive team as a 4th/5th outfielder.

Not the Rockies - boy, their outfield D is impressive.

Posted by: utec | May 16, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Morse gives Riggleman more options than Tavares because of his versatility. I thought he should be part of any rightfielding platoon over Tavares anyway because of his power.

Hope we hold on to Willie though, he could still come in handy.

http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Posted by: CJArlington | May 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I can feel too bad for Taveras; He's due $4M from OAK, less whatever the Nationals pay him for this year (probably $400k) [Contract values from Cot's Baseball Contracts website].

Posted by: BinM | May 16, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Morse has the bat skills this team needs i've advocated on this blog that this team needs another bat or two to infuse the offense Morse looked Tavares like at the plate in april so i hoping he's ready to contribute, defensively i don't think he compares to Tavares but with Bernandina's play in RF that might not be an issue. We need to win this one today Riggleman needs to play Guz and Kennedy today give Desmond a blow use him as a defensive replacement if they have a lead late in the game.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Morse has the bat skills this team needs i've advocated on this blog that this team needs another bat or two to infuse the offense Morse looked Tavares like at the plate in april so i'm hoping he's ready to contribute comming off the bench, defensively i don't think he compares to Tavares in terms of his outfield skills, but with Bernandina's play in RF that might not be an issue. We need to win this one today Riggleman needs to play Guz and Kennedy today, give Desmond a blow use him as a defensive replacement if they have a lead late in the game.

Posted by: dargregmag | May 16, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Today's NY Times also has a feature article about Harper, including quotes from Rizzo. It does not get into the character "issue" at all--which makes me question the extent to which Sheinin is being a bit sensationalistic in his piece.

That said, it seems indisputable that Harper has an "edge" to him. The eye black, the bat ritual, etc. The Times piece has a picture of Harper in the dugout with his teammates--just take a look at Harper's facial expression compared to his teammates in that picture, and you can see his edge. Whether he can harness it to his advantage will be the question. But I don't think there's any doubt about whether the Nats will take him. He is a special talent. Then the Nats need to rely on their player development people to get him ready.

Here's the link to the Times piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/sports/baseball/16nationals.html?ref=sports

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | May 16, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

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