Your guide to Everett alternatives, revisited

DMZ · September 23, 2006 at 11:11 am · Filed Under Mariners 

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.


42 Responses to “Your guide to Everett alternatives, revisited”

  1. ConorGlassey on September 23rd, 2006 11:29 am

    It’d be more valuable if they could learn from their mistakes instead of making them over and over again…

  2. DMZ on September 23rd, 2006 11:37 am

    There’s that too.

  3. Steve Nelson on September 23rd, 2006 12:05 pm

    #1: It’d be more valuable if they could learn from their mistakes instead of making them over and over again…

    Experience doesn’t always count. I worked with a guy one time who had 20 years of experience; unfortunately, I soon realized it was the same year of experience repeated 20 times.

  4. Edgar For Pres on September 23rd, 2006 12:22 pm

    wasn’t Frank Thomas an alternative too.
    130 games and .274/.386/.555 along with cheap contract

  5. RaoulDuke37 on September 23rd, 2006 12:25 pm

    Did we pursue Frank Thomas?

  6. DMZ on September 23rd, 2006 1:06 pm

    Sure, we discussed some right-handed guys, but since the team was set on left-handed/switch-hitting sock, these were the candidates discussed in that context.

    Thomas’s contract, it turns out, was almost all incentives. He’ll earn by playing really well what Everett earned for doing nothing.

  7. terry on September 23rd, 2006 1:07 pm

    Here’s a little ditty about Hatteberg (aka Mr. Anomaly)…..

    Sure his totals look pretty good (.290/.386/.443) considering Pecota’s weighted mean but here are some splits to maybe make DMZ feel a little better:

    before break: .309/.411/.486
    after break: .267/.353/.390 (Aug-Sept: .212/.319/.315)

    GABP: (park factor: 1.123 this season which is good for #2 in MLB with a BIG kiss to lefties ) .327/.418/.512
    Away: .253/.354/.376

    vs lefty:.234/.337/.351
    vs righty: .302/.397/.463

    So really Hattberg has beat the snot out of Pecota (in GABP against righties before the all-star break)…otherwise, he’s struggling to prove Pecota’s weighted mean wasn’t too optimistic.

    For this Krivsky rewarded him with $1.5M next season with a club option in ’08 for $1.85M…..

    I’m thinking passing on Hatteberg was absolutely a correct call by DMZ…. and shame on Krivsky 🙂

  8. Wishhiker on September 23rd, 2006 1:16 pm

    I like what Bavasi has done aside from some FA moves. Everett was more of Hargrove’s decision though, making it easier for Bavasi to cut bait. I agree that it’s not the only time Bavasi’s made a decision to move on. I think the FO made a great and timely transition in moving Guardado. That was the move that both surprised me and gave me faith in the FO.

  9. Coach Owens on September 23rd, 2006 1:34 pm

    Too bad Olerud retired, he was a great hitter off the bench for the Red Sox last year hitting .289 7 HRs and 38 RBIs in around 150 ABs.

  10. Paul B on September 23rd, 2006 2:07 pm

    Petagine could have been the DH too. He couldn’t have been any worse than Everett. Heck, WFB wouldn’t have been worse than Everett and he is a banjo hitting backup middle infielder.

  11. Trev on September 23rd, 2006 2:18 pm

    I remember Russell Branyan being mentioned as well.

    He’s hitting .221/.315/.486, nearly all against RHP.

    I’m sure you can find MLEs for Dobbs and Petagine at the BTF Transaction Oracle, something I would do if this computer had excel.

  12. Celadus on September 23rd, 2006 3:06 pm

    Well, I think WFB would have been worse than Everett unless the spirit of Whitey Herzog whispered in his ear and Willie felt the glory rising up inside him and he said to himself, yes, dammit, like that other famous Willie, Willie Wilson, I shall henceforth smite the ball directly into the dirt and run like hell.

  13. 3cardmonty on September 23rd, 2006 3:16 pm

    Just out of curiosity, which teams would have run Everett out there all year and let his option vest?

  14. rcc on September 23rd, 2006 3:20 pm

    It is damning with faint praise when Bavasi is given credit for “eventually” recognizing his error(s), and cutting his losses. One of the reasons I have become a big fan of Billy Beane is that he does not hesitate to turn his roster over in order to improve his ballclub. He finds someone to take his mistakes, and he moves on.

    While Bavasi was overpaying for Washburne and Everett…well Billy Beane was obtaining Frank Thomas and Esteban Loaiza. Which duo, and which contracts would anyone rather have?

  15. Celadus on September 23rd, 2006 5:28 pm

    #15. Actually, I think most general managers recognize their errors fairly soon. What distinguishes Beane is his capacity (a) to realize that such errors are inevitable and (b) not to worry about the player turning into an all-star as soon as Beane gets rid of him. That latter–the fear of releasing a player too soon and hence being perceived as both stupid and wasteful of the owner’s money–I suspect may well be the Achilles heel of many GMs.

  16. DMZ on September 23rd, 2006 6:21 pm

    Teams that would run an Everett-like player out all season. Hmm. In no particular order, the top candidates that spring to mind:

    St. Louis, if LaRussa loved him like Hargrove loved Everett
    Chicago Cubs
    Houston, if he was named Brad Ausmus

  17. J.L. on September 23rd, 2006 6:55 pm

    I wonder what is worse: running out an Everett-esque player all season, or running out both an Everett-esque AND a WFB-ish player for about 1/2 to 3/4 of a season, each. I think the M’s are one of a few teams to meet that particular level of stupid.

  18. JMB on September 23rd, 2006 7:23 pm

    If not for injuries, I think the Royals and Twins would have run Reggie Sanders and Rondell White out there all year.

  19. Dave on September 23rd, 2006 7:23 pm

    Don’t forget giving 100 plate appearances to Rene Rivera. Since the all-star break, he’s 5 for 48, and he’s hitting .149 on the season. The M’s have carried a backup catcher who hits like a pitcher all year long, without any effort to find an actual major leaguer for the position.

    The M’s clearly and consistently undervalue offensive performance in player evaluation.

  20. Sriram on September 23rd, 2006 7:30 pm

    Even Rich Aurilia hit 22 homers and batted around .300 for the Reds – we cant say he would have been a better choice than Everett, given we saw Aurilia struggle at Safeco. Lots of posts and comments here talked about why Aurilia was a complete bust and he has declined and nothing else to offer at the major league level.

    Everett may shine offensively somewhere else next year, in a park which is not as hitter-unfriendly as Safeco is.

  21. msb on September 23rd, 2006 7:35 pm

    doubt it.

    so– what are the odds Rene is back as back-up next year?

  22. BelaXadux on September 23rd, 2006 7:56 pm

    Re: #19, amen. We see guys on this team awarded way, way, WAYY to many ABs who have no justifiable reason for receiving them. Most of the Ms bench this year falls in that realm. Boomquist continuing to receive ABs—on the road for crissakes, it’s not even to please the three fans who love him at home—when there are some young guys up who could use a looksee for evaluative purposes. Everett’s long tenure. Rivera. I’d say Mike Morse, but he’s actually hit a little bit at the end of this year. This org is just so slllooowwwwww in accepting that bad offensive performances are actually indicative of talent level and making adjustments.

  23. DMZ on September 23rd, 2006 8:00 pm

    Lots of posts and comments here talked about why Aurilia was a complete bust and he has declined and nothing else to offer at the major league level.


    Find me a post here at USSM that says that Aurilia had nothing else to offer at the major league level.

    Because at the time, we were arguing that releasing him was pointless because they didn’t have anyone to take his place, and even after the trade to San Diego we weren’t all that happy about the move, given the circumstances. The most positive thing we said about it was that if they were going to suck, at least they’d suck more interestingly and have a chance to try some new guys out.

    Or, to put this another way: this is a bullshit strawman attack and if you’re not willing to do research, you shouldn’t make assertions like that.

  24. metz123 on September 23rd, 2006 8:18 pm

    Applying my imaginary NL to AL transformation matrix reveals that Aurilia would hit around .260 and 12 home runs in the American League.

    Don’t forget when you compare guys who played in the AL last year and switched to the NL this year the absolute talent discrepancy between the 2 leagues.

    Just because warm bodies like Cirillo and Aurilia can hold down positions in the NL doesn’t make them good players.

  25. Mat on September 23rd, 2006 8:59 pm

    If not for injuries, I think the Royals and Twins would have run Reggie Sanders and Rondell White out there all year.

    The Twins should’ve put White on the DL earlier than they did, but check this out:

    .182/.209/.215 — White, pre-ASB, pre-DL
    .304/.338/.541 — White, post-ASB, post-DL
    .286/.332/.449 — White, ’06 median PECOTA

    So when he’s been healthy, he’s been pretty productive, all things considered. Had they gotten him healthy earlier, they probably could’ve gotten more value out of him. Considering that past Jason Kubel, who was a huge injury risk (and is basically shut down now because of his knees), the Twins had no corner hitting prospects to speak of, signing White to a roughly $3M+incentives deal seemed like a pretty good one at the time, and I think looking at it now, the contract was still a good one, but they didn’t handle him very well once they got him. He’s had totally different results pre- and post-ASB, though.

  26. terry on September 23rd, 2006 10:15 pm

    #20: Aurilia has been treeing unsustainably this season against lefties (.341/.404/.674) with a noticeable bump from GABP. But for a 50 at-bat stretch in late August and early September, he was an automatic out against a quality righthander. I think Safeco and American league competition in general would’ve tore him a new one.

    He plays every infield position but none of them league average. The guy is still useful but he’s at the point in his career where you have to consider how to use him correctly. A better option than Everett? Well given how that turned out, really, find someone who wouldn’t have been preferrable….

    Aurilia is exactly where he should be in order to maximize his chances to contribute. Really he is more paper tiger than rally cat. If he turns down his $2M mutual option for ’07, he’s nuts IMHO.

    Anyway, snarkiness aside, the USSM take on him really is a matter or record that can be verified. These guys have some major *eggs* in that regard IMHO….

  27. DMZ on September 23rd, 2006 10:25 pm


  28. davepaisley on September 23rd, 2006 10:35 pm

    That was *eggs*.

    I think he may have meant *cojones*, which, when you think about it, are either the *opposite* of *eggs*, or merely the opposite gender equivalent.

  29. Ralph Malph on September 23rd, 2006 11:16 pm

    Aurilia is right-handed. If you’re gonna talk about left-handed alternatives to Everett going into this season you’ve gotta talk about Scott Spiezio. Who the Mariners could have had for nothing this year, since he was already under contract.

    Although Spiezio’s 064/137/149 line from last year wouldn’t match Everett’s numbers. I just realized he had a negative OPS+ last year. I didn’t know that was possible.

  30. Typical Idiot Fan on September 23rd, 2006 11:36 pm


    ‘YOU HAVE NO….. ‘ pulls out Japanese-English dictionary ‘….MAAAARRBBLESS!’


    makes gesture near testicles like a couple of “big ones”, complete with grunting noise

    ‘Marbles…?…. JUEVOS?!’

  31. terry on September 24th, 2006 7:38 am

    *stones*….I can’t spell in Spanish 🙂

    My point-USSM throws ideas into the marketplace for anyone and everyone to criticize without any safety net….

    If people want to bring up ghosts of Christmas past, how about Olivo?
    He went .267/.291/.446 with 16 dingers so far and rumors have it that he can catch too. He could’ve DH’d and been a backup catcher making him preferable to Everett as well.

    In all seriousness, this is one Bavasi move I still don’t like.

    But really, none of the alternative options brought up so far represent a “smoking gun*. The Everett decision was just a bad one because the chances of it working out were so poor.

  32. msb on September 24th, 2006 8:57 am

    oh, jeuvos…. see, I thought it was a literary allusion to the hardboiled fiction of the teens, and he meant ‘yeggs’….

    for some reason I thought I recalled folks implying that there were off-field issues with Olivo as well — that aside, what would Olivo’s numbers be if adjusted to the AL & Safeco?

  33. JI on September 24th, 2006 9:19 am


    Who was the last Everett-like player that Larussa ran out for the duration?


    Hasn’t White hit much better since returning from injury? At least the Twins cut Batista loose.

  34. DMZ on September 24th, 2006 11:08 am

    But really, none of the alternative options brought up so far represent a “smoking gun*. The Everett decision was just a bad one because the chances of it working out were so poor.

    The smoking gun isn’t in the alternatives, nor has anyone really argued that it is. It’s in how they settled on Everett, their reasons for paying him a ridiculous amount of money with a potentially dangerous option. The whole process defied logic.

  35. Ralph_Malph on September 24th, 2006 11:12 am

    No safety net? They give you a search line to look for stupid things they’ve said in the past. Why don’t you look up a few and enlighten us please.

    With 8 walks and 100 strikeouts this year and being right handed, I don’t think Olivo’s numbers translate real well to Safeco. Give Olivo credit for a nice year, but don’t forget his 151/172/276 line here last year in 152 at bats.

    Obviously he’d have been a better backup C than Rivera, but backup C is the least of the Mariners’ problems. I don’t like the idea of using your backup C as a DH, because you lose the DH if you have to put him in the game. Which really reduces your flexibility late in games.

  36. terry on September 24th, 2006 2:16 pm

    #35: yes, I agree, they’ve made it impossible to find relevant posts in the archive. I mean I had to point toward the second hit in the search results(the second freakin’ hit-who expects people to dig that deep into a search for gosh sakes????) to find this:

    In the intro of the thread he authored, DMZ includes text from an email referencing the USSM position on Aurilia’s DFA: ***(2) Concerning the Aurilia DFA: I agree concerning the overall meaninglessness of the move*****

    Seriously, I gave up after that because given the heroic effort I displayed during the search, no way was I going to click on the third link in the search results…


  37. Ralph Malph on September 24th, 2006 9:43 pm

    The point of the e-mail you found by searching was that it was meaningless to DFA Aurilia in July of 2004 if they were going to replace him at SS with Bloomquist. That was an obvious point at the time, and has nothing to do with the point of this thread which was who were the alternatives to Everett. I never heard anyone suggest Aurilia as a DH option for 2006 (and they would have been laughed at for suggesting it).

    Here’s what JMB said about Aurilia on 1/1/04, by the way:

    Getting back to Aurilia, I don’t have strong feelings about this one way or the other. Sure he’s older and slightly more expensive than Guillen, but he’s also a better bet to play 140 games in 2004. It’s also a very good thing that this is a one-year deal — perhaps they invision Jose Lopez taking over in 2005 — rather than the long-term deal Aurilia and his agent were supposedly looking for. Finally, there’s a chance the M’s wind up with a decent prospect for Guillen. Overall, I’d put this one down as a small net positive.

  38. terry on September 25th, 2006 5:02 am

    #37: my point was-if your motivated, you can check….

    My last post was referencing #20 and #23 which lead to the *safety net* comment in #31 which you refuted in #35 but aptly proved in #37…… 🙂

  39. Sriram on September 25th, 2006 1:31 pm

    if you’re not willing to do research, you shouldn’t make assertions like that.

    You misunderstood what I said. Your original posting said “we floated a number of names as possible alternatives. How’d they do?” – point is, how they do elsewhere doesn’t exactly translate to how they do here at Safeco (even with all the zillion ballpark independant stats you can throw at me). Aurilia is an example. Somebody else mentioned Olivo.

    Regardless, I feel that some people just hate Everett (for baseball and non-baseball reasons) – every post should not reflect that thought IMHO, but this is your blog, so u r entitled to ur opinions for sure.

    PS – Everett sucked big time, but he has a chance to be more valuble in a different org – probably Reds/Rangers/WhiteSox again in a hitter friendly ballpark and a loaded lineup for example. That he is not very valuble to the M’s and Safeco does not mean he is useless (even though he might not be a good person in non-baseball angle)

  40. DMZ on September 25th, 2006 1:49 pm

    That is such a load of bullshit. You said

    Lots of posts and comments here talked about why Aurilia was a complete bust and he has declined and nothing else to offer at the major league level.

    This is a false statement, and I pointed that out. If what you meant was this new, “stuff doesn’t translate” argument, you should have said that in the first place.

    You can’t say “well, 1+1=a bajillion” and then, when it’s pointed out that it’s not, argue that you made an entirely different statement.

    Well, you can, but it’s stupid.

    You fucked up. You could at least have the decency to admit that, instead of accusing people of misunderstanding you.

  41. Sriram on September 26th, 2006 12:48 pm

    Well, I dont want to fight – you think you are a superhuman, fine – this is your blog, so that makes you superhuman. Good luck in the future, but my advice would be reduce your profanity.

  42. DMZ on September 26th, 2006 12:51 pm

    Yes, the problem is that I think I’m superhuman. Why didn’t that occur to me before? The problem couldn’t possibly have anything to do with you.

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