Tigers sign Adam Everett

Tired of hearing the Pirates demand the moon for Jack Wilson, the Tigers turned to the free agent market and signed Adam Everett to a one year, $1 million contract for 2009.

Everett is the epitome of an all-glove, no hit player. He’s one of the worst offensive players in baseball, posting a career wOBA of .289 and racking up -6.81 WPA/LI over 2,500 PA. It’s even worse if you just look at the last three years, where he’s posted wOBAs of .276, .268, and .264. Those are brutal numbers.

However, over the last five years, Everett has also been something like the very best defensive player in baseball. His UZR/150 since 2003: +14.4, +16.9, +13.8, +24.9, +24.4, +10. Considering that his peer group have already been selected as the best defenders in the game, the fact that Everett just blew them out of the water speaks to how great he was with the glove. Even while recovering from a fractured fibula and while playing through a shoulder problem, he was still one of the best defensive shortstops in the game last year.

So, the Tigers are clearly paying for his glove, and are willing to live with the bat. How valuable is the total package?

Marcel projects Everett for a .280 wOBA in 2009. Over 600 PA, that adds up to -29 runs compared to an average hitter. I told you he was a bad hitter. His glove projects as something like +15 runs for 2009, and the position adjustment for a shortstop is currently accepted at +7.5 runs, so he gets 22.5 runs back for his defensive value. That makes him a -6.5 run player over a full season, or about 13.5 runs above a replacement level shortstop.

Maybe you think Marcel’s a little too optimistic about his offense. Maybe you think a +15 projection for his defense is too high, considering he did break his leg last year. Maybe you don’t think he can play a full season, considering he’s only played 150 games in a season twice in his career. These are all valid concerns, and so I’d feel comfortable with a projection as low as +10 runs and no higher than +15 runs.

That makes Everett about a +1 to +1.5 win player. He got $1 million, which is what teams pay for bad utility players who belong in Triple-A. This is a pretty massive steal for the Tigers, and along with the Gerald Laird trade earlier today, they’ve added something like three wins to their roster in 12 hours and spent a grand total of about $4 million to do so.

Heck of a day for Dave Dombrowski.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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mymrbig
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mymrbig

Nice analysis. Hopefully your diligent work will make some people respect the value of defense a little more. Everett is a nice gamble for a team that already has a good offense and doesn’t have to worry about the pitcher hitting.

They can always let Dontrelle Willis pinch hit for him late in the game…

Dave, any chance you can do one of these analysis for Jack Wilson? I’m curious about his actual worth versus the Pirates’ purported asking price. My back-of-the-napkin calculations tell me he’s probably worth his salary, or maybe slightly more. Also, UZR look a lot less friendly to Wilson than +/-. Is there any good resource out there that runs through the positives and negatives of all the different defensive metrics?

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