Full transcript: Joe Buck’s comments on Oscar Taveras

BuckFox Sports announcer Joe Buck caused quite a stir this weekend with some comments he made about Cardinals outfield prospect Oscar Taveras in the wake of a trade that send outfielder Allen Craig and pitcher Joe Kelly to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher John Lackey.

In the interest of providing context and accuracy, I went in search of the full dialogue during that segment. Timothy Burke of Deadspin has provided me with the full transcript of Buck, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds discussing the move.

Here it is:

Buck: The Cardinals part of it is really intriguing. As Bogaerts checks his swing on a pitch that was down. And the count goes to 3-1. As you said, the Cardinals made the decision to force Oscar Taveras into their lineup, a rookie outfielder. While the front office may like the potential of Oscar Taveras, guys on the team have been not impressed at all with his work ethic. And that’s what rankelled a lot of those players when that trade was made to get rid of Craig. That’s strike two. And trade a 26-year-old hard-throwing right-hander, good athlete in Joe Kelly, here to Boston. Allen Craig, a run-producing machine the past two years. The question is, is he healthy? Had the Lisfranc situation in his left foot last year and has not hit like they expected so far this season. Runner goes on a foul at the plate by Bogaerts.

Tom Verducci: What you said about Taveras and the Cardinals, that’s why if you’re a GM, you better understand the pulse of your clubhouse. Because you can’t fool your teammates. If you’re not a worker, you have any kind of insecurities, any kind of red flag, your teammates will know that. Getting back to Billy Beane, I think we all applaud what he’s done with that roster. A few years ago, Eric Chavez, Giambi, say, I got a shot at getting this guy, what do you think? How does he fit? I admired that about Billy Beane, that he understood the game from the ground up and not the front office down.

Harold Reynolds: That’s huge. I think in St. Louis, as far as Taveras is concerned, you have to have a guy who will get in his face and say, you got to work. You can’t say, the game’s going to humble you or it’s not. You gotta work.

Buck: Nava was running last pitch. Isn’t here. A line drive into right will send the right fielder Martin Prado back and he grabs it for out number one. Prado, as Tom said, had only played a couple of games prior to today in right. He made that play look easy on a line drive, One away. Jackie Bradley, Jr., will be the hitter. That guy, by the way, for the Cardinals, would have been Albert Pujols.

Reynolds: Right.

Buck: Taveras would not come up, take early BP and not do some of the work that the veterans expected him to do with the Cardinals, with Albert Pujols in that clubhouse, on his watch. Check on the runner at first. Back easily is Daniel Nava.

Reynolds: And I’m wondering, who is that guy in St. Louis now? Matt Carpenter? It seems like the pitchers have been the vocal ones. Wainwright and Chris Carpenter through the years, but the position players haven’t had that guy. Maybe Molina will be that guy they have to lean on. He doesn’t seem like that’s his personality.

Buck: Yeah, he’s pretty quiet.

Reynolds: I don’t know.

Buck: They liked him, Allen Craig. Tom, if he comes back and he turns into that run producer again, that’s just an absolute throttling in a trade, in my opinion, for the Red Sox.

Verducci: Especially because Joe Kelly, by himself, I thought was great value. 25-year-old pitcher with mid-90s fastball. David Ortiz said seeing him in the World Series, we were really impressed with his stuff. He can only get better. There are some questions about Craig and his ability to stay healthy. Is he healthy now? No question, up until this season, he’s been a premiere run producer.

Buck: Here’s a 2-0 pitch. Bradley grounds one right side. Sliding is Drew, makes a nice play.

Reynolds: Beautiful play. That’s the athleticism of Stephen Drew.

Buck: And then he just gave a look into that Red Sox dugout after crossing the first base line, just flipping it, Harold, right out of his glove.

Reynolds: He thinks the pitcher’s going to get it. He’s got to bounce back and get it. And that’s a beautiful play. But I like the finish of the play, go to the dugout and talk a little trash. I love it.

Buck: He’s a different personality than J.D. whose nickname is dirt. And he’s got a little more fire to him. J.D. would tell you that, his older brother who played here as well. Here’s Christian Vazquez, runner at second, hitting .250. strike one.

There’s a lot here.

The key point here is that guys on the team have not been impressed with Taveras’ work ethic. This idea isn’t exactly new, as Taveras has gotten that reputation during his time in minor leagues. But it still begs the question as to where Buck got this?

Did he get this from John Mozeliak, or one of the guys on the team? Either he’s exaggerating to an extent, or someone on the team is throwing a rookie under the bus. Neither are ideal scenarios.

Also, is Verducci insinuating that Mozeliak, whose organization has won “Best Organization in Baseball” in 2013 and 2011, doesn’t understand the pulse of his clubhouse? Also, it sounds as if they’re implying that no one has provided any sort of leadership to the young Taveras, which is something I’d be willing to bet isn’t true.

As I noted in my post the other day, there doesn’t seem to be any proof of disdain when the team is on the field. There seems to be a good cohesiveness with the new guys, and that was on full display in Tuesday’s win over the Red Sox.

If any of this is true, though, it might shed some light as to why Taveras is still hitting so low in the lineup. If this truly is about players and managers thinking he needs to earn his keep, it’s easy to understand why Taveras  who is arguably the most prototypical two-hole hitter on the team  is still hitting seventh in Mike Matheny’s lineup.


You can reach Cole Claybourn at highsocksunday@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @HighSock_Sunday.

  • JonDoble August 6, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Albert Pujols is that guy? The same Albert Pujols that shared a locker room with Colby Rasmus for two and a half years and Rasmus can only remember talking to twice? That Albert Pujols? By all reports, Albert never was the vocal leader.

    But I think the whole thing is overblown. He’s still assimilating into his place with the team. It’s like any other company when you’re dealing with new employees. They’re not always going to hit it off with everyone day one. It takes time to feel out the responsibilities and personalities.

    • Mitch Cumstein August 6, 2014, 4:39 pm

      Probably Pujols is the one who told management to get rid of Rasmus, whose bat could help the Cardinals now.

    • cynicwithtaste August 7, 2014, 3:19 am

      Why does it have to be a player? If Taveras needs a better work ethic – and I’m not saying we know that’s the case for sure, but if he does – what about Matheny and the coaching staff letting him know? Sticking with your comparison to a company, ultimately the boss needs to tell employees if they’re falling short of expectations, and Matheny and his coaching staff are the bosses in the clubhouse.

      I agree that this thing is probably overblown more than it should be. I am a little worried, though, that Matheny worries too much about being the players’ buddy instead of focusing on expectations and performance.

      • JonDoble August 7, 2014, 9:53 am

        That’s exactly the attitude that gets organizations in this mess. “I won’t deal with it because the boss should.” Sometimes the boss doesn’t see everything you see. You should be taking ownership of your work situation. In every company there’s what you have to do and what you should do. Those situations start pushing at the fringes of things the boss should feel are part of his responsibility. That’s when it’s time for the co-workers to take ownership and exercise some peer leadership (which is far more effective than boss leadership, btw). If you see a problem, deal with it. Don’t let it fester while you hope the boss notices and fixes it. As Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud!”

  • janrayewilliams August 6, 2014, 4:00 pm

    No surprise that yet another very young, but undisciplined and unskilled at a position, ball player and hard hitter comes in from the DR and pushes a good hard-working honest player out of his position and job. Court records from just yesterday show that the Biogenesis scandal drug-pusher-dealer Anthony Bosch who sold HGH to many of the highly paid players who are reaping great benefits from its use today also delivered and injected testosterone and HGH to teenage ball players being developed in the Dominican Republic over the past years.
    Keep cheering, paying, and idolizing J. Peralta, D. Ortiz, B. Colon, N. Cruz, M. Cabrera, etc. What they’ve done is cheat every day, every game, year after year by using HGH over time. The effects are long-lasting, up to ten years, and even strengthens their connective tissues in their bodies, along with the ANTI-AGING effects. Why do you think Ortiz and Colon are still so effective at hitting and pitching at their ages? Go Major League Baseball!! Players actually have PERMISSION to use as much and for as long as they want until they are caught a third time, which could take years. Even careers for those like Colon and Ortiz.
    Go Oscar, may you have a long and enhanced career.

    • Tim J August 6, 2014, 4:54 pm

      ___________ = proof.

    • ceeza August 6, 2014, 5:04 pm

      They took er jerbs!!

  • Mitch Cumstein August 6, 2014, 4:38 pm

    and anyway Allen Craig is going to be on the injured list for a while now. The Cardinals need to find out if Taveras can do what they’ve been thinking. Worrying about a work ethic after they’ve had him 2+ years? Can’t see that being an issue all of a sudden. I did hate to hear during last night’s game that he doesn’t have much of a throwing arm in right field. Of course with Holiday, John Jay and now Taveras, the Cardinals have maybe the worst throwing outfield in history.. . .and they should still make the playoffs.

    • ColeClaybourn August 6, 2014, 4:54 pm

      Taveras’ throwing arm is fine. He has the strongest arm out of all the Cardinal outfielders and it’s not even close. His throw was just off line.

  • ceeza August 6, 2014, 4:58 pm

    This is such a joke. “the right way” is code for “the white way”.. These bums can’t hit the ball out of their shadow all year and they’re whispering about Taveras because they lost one of their poker buddies.. They need to grow up..

  • Uncle Teabag August 6, 2014, 5:27 pm

    Or it could be Buck talking out of his ass, which happens quite frequently.

  • Paul Glandt August 6, 2014, 6:35 pm

    I bet Jack Buck is so proud listening to Joe bash his beloved Cardinals. Jack Buck would have prefered doing a Cards game rather than being inducted in Hall of Fame.I’m not sure what has crawled up Joe’s ass,he should be thanking the Cardinals everyday that he is where he is.Between the Team and his Dad that’s how he got his start

  • Chad Lutz August 6, 2014, 6:42 pm

    hes hitting 220 thats why hes not in the two hole..

  • janrayewilliams August 6, 2014, 11:28 pm

  • Carl August 7, 2014, 1:56 pm

    It doesn’t seem like AC has that many good years left because that injury can be an issue for years as it has drug on this year. He could turn around based on his desire to prove the Cards wrong? Guys have done it. Joe is a crapshoot, lot of talent, like last night, but does that turn into starter talent on a regular basis? He’s probably gonna be a long reliever or a great set-up man, IMO. Who knows, he may continue as a spot starter and if the Sox don’t get great pitchers, he may just make it.
    I’ll bet it’s tough to get traded to a team you don’t want to play for.

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