Your guide to Everett alternatives, revisited
When the M’s were rumored to be interested in and then signed Everett, and I spent a fair amount of my time savaging the signing for baseball and non-baseball reasons, we floated a number of names as possible alternatives. How’d they do?
Do nothing – I suggested putting one of the random Tacoma-bound guys in, taking even Dobbs over Everett as the DH. Dobbs hit .313/.374/.444 in Tacoma, which even taking a huge translation bump would have been a lot better than Everett.
Other left-handed/switch-hitters available at the time who were mentioned in discussions:
Burnitz – signed a one-year, $6m deal with Pittsburgh. Hit .232/.289/.424 at age 37
Durazo – without being able to know anything for certain about his health, I said “That may make him a bargain, but it certainly makes him a risk.” Went through three organizations this year, and couldn’t play a base. And yet… in AAA, his total line was like .290/.385/.430. Even a semi-crippled Durazo would have been an upgrade.
Hatteberg – “no thanks” The Picking Machine signed a one-year, $750k deal with the Reds, and hit .290/.386/.443, a surprising performance reversing what looked like years of deciline, arguably his best hitting season ever. Heh. You never know.
Higginson – nope. Didn’t play.
Jones – Dave’s talked about this, but Jones did really well… but required a multi-year contract for more money
Lawton – hee hee.
Travis Lee – .224/.312/.364.
Tino Martinez – retired
Mueller – injured his knee, ending his season and possibly his career.
There a couple of lessons to be learned from the Carl Everett signing:
– Paying for things like grit or intensity that can’t be measured or reliably evaluated means you get ripped off a lot
– The cost of reliable veterans over taking a chance is high and doesn’t guarantee reliability
– Mike Hargrove is a horrible talent evaluator
Frequently overlooked, though, is that Bavasi’s shown, over and over, that he understands that contracts are sunk costs, and been willing to move to get past the team’s mistakes. Maybe not as aggressively as we’d always like, but we should acknowledge at least that there are many teams that, having hyped a guy like Everett up and spent that much money on him, would have run him out there all year long and let the option pick up, either out of fear of embarassment or inability to acknowledge they were wrong.
We can point to a lot of the M’s free agent signings as mistakes, but at least they’ve been able to confront them and move on. That’s valuable.