"We are not leaving a message to [our relievers]. He is a veteran that has been around. He throws the ball. His arm is in good shape. The fact is, we need somebody to step up in that bullpen. He is a guy who has done it in the past. He is a quick-term solution."
(Manny Acta, via Nationals dot com, 3/14/2009)
One important question is: can he still pitch? But then you need to ask if the 16-year veteran with a history of inciting bench clearing brawls, suspensions, and MLB-imposed mandatory sensitivity training is a good match for a team that is trying to undergo a culture change.
Let's check Assistant to the Acting GM (or whatever his title is) Mike Rizzo's answer to this question from MLB.com's Bill Ladson about the importance of character in players:
MLB.com: Besides talent, what else do you want to see out of your players?
Rizzo: They have to be good citizens on and off the field. The clubhouse is a very unique and fragile environment. I think it's imperative to a successful organization that we have people who are good teammates. Good teammates are always pulling for each other. We need to have that mind-set, and I think we have brought in character guys...
Now, compare that to Tavarez's umm...interesting track record across his 16-year career (via Boston.com, 3/28/2006):
May 31, 1996- While with the Indians, Tavarez threw a fastball behind the Brewers' Mike Matheny and in the brawl that ensued, flipped umpire Joe Brinkman onto his back. He was suspended three games for the pitch, and apologized to Brinkman, saying it was inadvertent.
March 26, 2001- While with the Cubs, Tavarez was suspended for his part in a spring-training brawl that began when Russ Davis of the Giants, believing Tavarez had shown him up after striking him out, charged the mound. Tavarez, who said Davis was yelling obscenities at him, retaliated with a karate-style kick. Tavarez was suspended five games, Davis three. Tavarez also was fined $16,000 and ordered to take sensitivity classes.
April 28, 2001- While with the Giants, Tavarez was fined and ordered to take sensitivity classes after saying ''Why should I care about the fans? They are nothing but a bunch of [expletives] and [pejorative term for gays] here. That's what they are.''
Aug. 20, 2004- While with the Cardinals, Tavarez was suspended 10 games for applying pine tar, an illegal substance, to his cap.
Oct. 18, 2004- While with the Cardinals, Tavarez breaks two bones in his nonpitching hand after punching a dugout phone during Game 4 of the NLCS. He later was fined $10,000 for throwing a fastball behind the head of Houston's Jeff Bagwell in the same game.
March 26, 2006- While with the Red Sox, sets off a bench clearing brawl between the Red Sox and Rays during the 8th ining of a spring training game after a close play at home plate. Accused of sucker punching Tampa's Joey Gathright.
Hmm...something just doesn't add up, Mike.