Monday, December 08, 2008

Tigers sign Adam Everett

The Tigers have reached an agreement with free agent shortstop Adam Everett on a one year deal worth $1 million plus incentives. The signing is pending a physical which in this case might not be a mere formality. After breaking his fibula in 2007, he suffered a strained shoulder in 2008. The leg is supposedly completely healed but the shoulder may still be a question mark. That's speculation on my part given the small base salary.

Before his injuries, Everett was an elite defensive shortstop - the best in the game from 2003-2007. His fielding Fielding Bible +/- numbers were the best in MLB from 2003-2006 ranked him number one in the game each year:

2003 +21 plays better than the average shortstop
2004 +22
2005 +33
2006 +41

He was on his way to another +/- title in 2007 when he was at +18 after 66 games but missed the rest of the season with the broken fibula. He is not one of those players who does well on some systems and scores poorly on others. He does well on all fielding metrics.
The following UZR data came from Fangraphs:

2003 14.4 Runs Above Average per 150 games
2004 16.9
2005 13.8
2006 24.9
2007 24.4

He was number one or two in baseball each year based on those numbers.

If Everett can come anywhere close to those numbers in 2009, then he will be an asset. If he is merely average or slightly above then he'll be a problem because his bat is as bad as his glove is good. His lifetime OPS of .653 is about as bad as it gets.

So, the Tigers have filled there two positional needs very cheaply with Everett and catcher Gerald Laird. That should leave them with enough money in their budget to bolster their pitching staff in a significant way. Next on their list is probably a top closer such as free agent Kerry Wood or current Mariner J.J.Putz.

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