Clubs interested in Wigginton, Taveras
Accomplished veteran players available through free agency
It didn't take long for the apparent bidding to begin on accomplished veterans such as Ty Wigginton and Willy Taveras, both of whom were non-tendered by their respective teams prior to Friday's midnight ET deadline.
Wigginton, who was not offered a 2009 contract by the Astros, already has received expressed interest from the Indians, Giants and Pirates, according to La Velle E. Neal III of The Minneapolis Star Tribune, who points to a "well-placed source" for the information. Neal also believes the Twins could get into the bidding for Wigginton, who provides the needed upgrade at third base sought by Minnesota. Wigginton also could cover the Twins as a backup at second base, first base and in the outfield.
As for Taveras, The Denver Post reported in Sunday's edition that the fleet-footed center fielder has received interest from the Nationals and White Sox. MLB.com's Mark Sheldon talked to Reds general manager Walt Jocketty during a break at Redsfest this past weekend, and Jocketty confirmed potential interest in both Wigginton and Taveras.
Jocketty said Wigginton would fit in if "we don't find the outfielder we want," and Taveras "could be the center-fielder-type guy."
Taveras would make sense for the White Sox, who currently have relatively untested left-handed-hitting Jerry Owens penciled in as their leadoff man. The South Siders are familiar with Taveras, who turns 27 on Christmas Day, as he hit .291 with 34 stolen bases for an Astros team that was swept by the White Sox in the 2005 World Series. Taveras finished second to Ryan Howard in the National League Rookie of the Year voting that season.
Taveras, who earned $1.975 million in 2008, led the Major Leagues with 68 stolen bases. But he also batted .251 with just a .308 on-base percentage for the Rockies. Wigginton, who made $4.35 million last year, hit .285 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 386 at-bats for the Astros. He is a career .270 hitter with 110 home runs and 384 RBIs for four teams.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.