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Dollar Days: Adam Everett Returns to the Tigers

I imagine it isn’t unique to my fantasy league, but in our auction, the last part of the draft is known as “dollar days,” that is, when owners are almost out of fantasy dollars and the players being drafted are mostly filler, and thus go for one dollar. Of course, an owner or two usually spends a lot in the first part of the draft, puts himself in “dollar days” right away, and ends up waiting around to fill his roster.

In “real” baseball, the Detroit Tigers have clearly been in dollars days since the the last out of the season. This isn’t a criticism or a compliment — it’s a fact. Continuing their belt-tightening ways, the Tigers re-signed Adam Everett to a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.55 million according to Ken Rosenthal.

Everett is legendarily bad at the plate. His career wOBA is .286, peaking with the unforgettable dream season in 2004 when he hit .273/.317/.385 for a .313 wOBA. For 2010, CHONE projects Everett to hit .236/.292/.329, or 29 runs below average per 150 games. My projection is more optimistic: .240/.294/.342, or -25 runs per 150 games.

Of course, that’s not the whole story with Adam Everett. As bad as he’s been at the plate during his career, he’s been just as awesome with the glove, good enough to be an average player or better for most of the early part of the decade. Age and injuries have robbed him of some of his skill in the field, but he was still able to put up a 13.6 UZR/150 in 2009. Rally’s TotalZone projection has him at +12/150 for 2010, as do Jeff Zimmerman‘s UZR projections. Adding it all together, per 150 games we get -27 offense, +12 defense, +7 positional adjustment for shortstop per 150, +20 replacement, and Everett projects as a bit over 1 WAR per 150 games.

Keep in mind that Everett hasn’t actually played in 150 games since 2006. Still, he was able to put up about 1 WAR in only 118 2009 games. Having a 1 WAR player as an everyday starter isn’t exactly a recipe for a divisional championship, but the Tigers came awfully close to winning the dreadful AL Central with Everett at shortstop for most of 2009. More importantly, with the Tigers in a severe budget crunch and currently without other decent shortstop options at the major league level, by signing Everett for $1.5 million in a market when a marginal win is going for around four million, the Tigers can at least be respectable at the position while staying within their budgetary limits. Frankly, one could argue that with Marco Scutaro off the table and Miguel Tejada out of their price range (and perhaps headed to third base anyway), Everett is as good or better than any of the remaining free agent shortstops out there such as Khalil Greene, Bobby Crosby, and Orlando Cabrera. This is a good deal for a team who started the auction in dollar days.