Posted by: Larry Smith Jr. | June 8, 2010

Everett Out, Worth In for the Tigers

Immediately following Sunday’s game the Detroit Tigers designated Shortstop Adam Everett for assignment, essentially ending his one-and-a-third year tenure with the team.   This was a move that had to be done.  Everett was a pox on the bottom third of the lineup, posting a batting line of 185/221/247.  Long a lightweight on offense whose presence in the lineup was mitigated by his outstanding defensive abilities, Everett’s defense had also taken a sharp slide this season.  Depending on the metric system used, he was either +1.4 (UZR), -4 (Total Zone), or 0 (Plus/Minus) defensively thus far this season.  All three metrics rate him the lowest that he’d ever been in his career, save for Plus/Minus, which had him as the second lowest of his career.   With his hitting worse than ever before (and it was always bad) and his fielding worse than ever before, the Tigers could no longer afford to carry him on their roster and mercifully designated him for assignment.

Up to replace him is Middle Infielder Danny Worth, a 2007 second round pick whose prospect status was much higher within the organization a couple of years ago but has since dimmed considerably.   While word has trickled out that Worth will likely be the Tigers primary shortstop in the wake of Everett’s release, his true talent is probably of a decent backup and a very low tier starter at this point.   In fact, the Tigers are probably hoping that Worth can become a v. 2.0 of Everett:  Essentially the player that Everett was before he got older and entered his decline phase.   If he can be that player, then he will have some value for the Tigers and would be a mid to low tier starting caliber player.  Consider the following:

* – Everett had 3003 PAs in his career, posting a triple slash line of 243/294/348.  This is terrible.  In fact, since Everett entered the league in 2001, his OPS+ of  66 is tied for the fifteenth worst in the Major Leagues among players who have at least 1000 plate appearances.  If you up the criteria to 2000 plate appearances, it is tied for the fourth worst, and at 3000+ plate appearances, it is tied for the third worst.  In that time, only Brad Ausmus has received as many chances to hit and been a less effective hitter, and only Cesar Izturis has been Everett’s equal.

* – Worth has had 1202 minor league career PAs, posting a very comparable triple slash of 251/317/346.

* – In 2010, Worth has hit 287/330/354 in Toledo in 176 PAs, while also posting a 333/333/333 line in 24 PAs for Detroit during his prior callup.

If Worth can equal Everett’s major league career numbers — And right now this is not a given — Then he can be an effective major league player if he can play strong defense.  His defense has never been in question at any point in his minor league career, and in fact has been a major driver of Worth’s consistent promotions up the professional ladder.  However, that is a big picture appraisal of Worth and his future value, which appears more likely to be as a backup than as a starter.

Smaller picture:  In the here and now Everett was providing nothing to the Tigers on offense or defense.   Worth almost certainly will top Everett’s performance defensively, and while he may be a black hole in the bottom of Detroit’s lineup, he still is likely to outperform Everett offensively, where the bar is set so low.   Worth’s worst season in the minors offensively was last year, when he hit 229/294/296 for Erie (AA) and Toledo (AAA).   As awful as those numbers are, if he even hit like that for the Tigers it would represent a significant improvement over what Adam Everett was providing, particularly if he plays great defense to go along with it.

In the long term, the Tigers are going to need to find a real resolution to their problem at Shortstop, but in the short term, this was a move that needed to be made.  Worth ought to provide a significant upgrade over Everett both offensively and defensively, even if his final offensive numbers are likely to look rather poor.   The Tigers gave Everett — Whose contract was worth $1.5m and was set to expire after this season — A sizable enough time to pull out of his struggles, but it simply appears that time on his career has run out.   This was the right move at the right time.

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Responses

  1. Back in the ’70’s, Everett was more or less typical as shortstops were concerned. Good field, no hit was the standard prototype. You were doing real well to have a Dave Concepcion or a Bert Campaneris.
    But over the past decade and a half or so, there really isn’t any justification to be playing a guy like Everett on a regular basis year after year. No defensive expertise can make up for an OPS + of 66.
    Nice, informative blog-post, Bill


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