I hate to take General Managers to task for what they say in press conferences. Oftentimes, these guys are among the top professionals in their field, and part of the job involves putting a good face forward in press conferences. Never would a general manager bemoan in acquisition in front of the local reporters.
But sometimes, the words coming up of a general manager’s mouth and the reality of the situation are so far removed from each other, I can’t help myself. That’s where Mariners GM Bill Bavasi and the team’s acquisition of Carl Everett comes into play.
The Mariners this evening announced that the team and Everett, a DH with some outfield time under his belt, had reached an agreement on a one-year, $4-million deal. At the press conference, Bavasi praised the newest Mariner. “Today we achieved one of our off-season goals. Carl Everett is a clutch-hitting run producer with power. As a switch-hitter, he provides our lineup with added versatility.”
Well, if their off-season goal was to sign a guy who doesn’t believe dinosaurs existed, then they fulfilled that goal. But if their goal was to sign a clutch-hitting run producer with power, then I think they may have fallen for short on a few fronts.
Let’s start with run producer. Is Carl Everett a run producer? Everett’s offensive line in 2005 was .251/.311/.435, good for last among all full-time American League Designated Hitters. So in a position created for offense, Carl Everett’s production is, well, offensive.
Looking at some more descriptive statistics, Everett’s production gets even worse. (Skip this part if you’re not sabermetrically inclined.) According to Baseball Reference, Everett had 547 plate appearances and made an astounding 393 at bats. He created 4.53 runs per 27 outs. So for this metric, a lineup of Carl Everett’s would score just 4.53 runs per game. That makes Everett just .5 run per 27 outs better than the 2004 version of Jason Giambi. That is not good.
Furthermore, Everett had an MLVr of -.034. In other words, he would contribute negative runs to a lineup made up of otherwise average hitters. This ranks him behind such luminaries as Chone Figgins, Travis Lee, and Michael Cuddyer. That hardly makes him the run producing monster Bavasi painted him to be.
Next, let’s look at the whole clutch hitting thing. Now, when one says clutch hitter, I think David Ortiz. I’ve seen David Ortiz, and Carl Everett, sir, is no David Ortiz. In 2005, in the ever-popular “close and late” situation where it’s the 7th inning or later and the batting team is up by one run, tied, or with the potential tying run on desk, Carl Everett hit a whopping .156/.253/.247 with 27 strike outs in 77 at-bats.
Well, Bavasi may say, defending Everett, 77 at-bats doesn’t really constitute a big enough sample size. Let’s push back the analysis to Everett’s combined plate appearances from 2002 through 2004. The picture is no better. This time, in 179 at-bats, Everett hit .201/.289/.341. That’s the opposite of clutch. While Everett hits fairly well with runners in scoring position, with the game on the line, Carl Everett is not the guy you want up at the plate.
Maybe Bill Bavasi was talking about someone else when he mentioned this clutch-hitting, run-producer will power, but it certainly doesn’t look like Carl Everett is that guy. During his press conference, Bavasi also talked about how Everett “would break up any monotony or boredom.” Of course, that’s not because of his ability to change the game with one swing. At age 34, that skill, along with Everett’s run-producing abilities, are fading into the past. Rather, you never know when Everett might just grab his crotch in celebration of a home run as he did against his new teammate Jamie Moyer in 2001.
Monotonous and boring? That’s not Carl Everett. But neither is clutch-hitting and run-producing. Now the Mariners and their fans will find these out first hand at the expense of, well, fielding a good team.