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Open Letter to Paul Hoynes

Hoynsie, you disappoint me, jumping on the Willy Taveras bandwagon like that. Don't you know better?

Taveras hit only three home runs all year, despite playing in one of the most homer-happy ballparks ever conceived by man. He hit only 17 doubles and triples, despite his tremendous speed and those big outfield gaps you mentioned. In fact, Taveras had the worst slugging percentage in the entire National League. We're talking about 20 extra base hits, by an outfielder, in a full season. That's miserable.

His on-base percentage was pretty bad, too -- not miserable, just bad. But show me a guy with 103 strikeouts and 25 walks -- and a .347 average on balls in play -- and I'll show you a guy who won't be hitting .291 again next year. And then you'll see a truly miserable OBP.

Look, I don't need to run down Willy Taveras. I don't root against products of the Tribe farm system after they leave. I'm proud of them. He's a very good base-stealer, and I'm sure his defense is as good as you said. But when you write a story like this, full of praise for "the one who got away," you're misleading a lot of your readers. You never said, specifically, that we shouldn't have let him go. But there's a subtext.

So let me state it plainly, as perhaps you could have:

Willy Taveras was a terrible hitter this season, and he's simply not in the same league with Grady Sizemore and Coco Crisp. Using the OPS stat, Taveras is about 160 points behind those guys -- which is roughly the difference between Casey Blake and Andruw Jones. Taveras is young and likely to improve, but Crisp and Sizemore are, too. "The ones we kept" have a good shot at a bunch of All-Star appearances. "The one that got away" will be lucky to keep a starting job for more than a few years. Hell, he had trouble keeping a starting job just last week.

And maybe you could have worked that into your article. It's just my opinion, but I think your readers would be interested to know that sort of thing.