Monday, August 11, 2008

The Biggest Disappointment

One can make the argument that each offseason acquisition currently playing for the Twins has been a disappointment to some degree. Carlos Gomez has looked raw and over-matched. Brendan Harris has failed to meet his hitting line from last year. Mike Lamb has had a miserable season at the plate. Delmon Young's rumored power potential has not materialized in any form. Livan Hernandez and Craig Monroe, of course, were recently released as a result of their ineffectiveness (and Hernandez has gotten his career as a Rockie off to a great start!).

Yet, to me, no acquisition has been a greater disappointment than Adam Everett.

I was not a fan of the Everett signing to begin with. The Twins were one of the worst offensive clubs in the league last year, and they entered the offseason with a need to add players who could help them score more runs. As such, I found little logic in signing one of the worst-hitting regular players of the past several years to fill a position of need. Many made the argument that Everett's reputedly spectacular fielding ability at one of the most important defensive positions on the field was enough to offset his offensive shortcomings and make him a decently valuable player. There's certainly some truth to that, and I made sure to acknowledge Everett's track record as an outstanding defender, but added that "I'm not really sure the Twins are a team that can afford the luxury of a superb defensive shortstop who can't hit worth a lick."

Here we are on August 10, and Everett has fallen far short of even my meager expectations. His hitting has been atrocious, as expected; even after poking a pair of RBI singles in yesterday's game, he is batting .209/.275/.319, which is quite awful even for him. But what has truly been frustrating is his defense. Everett has not been a spectacular defensive presence at shortstop. Frankly, he hasn't even been adequate. His arm is absolutely horrendous. While he has often shown the solid range and slick glove that he was known for in Houston, Everett's total lack of arm strength has prevented him from making more than a handful of impressive plays at shortstop this season, and has frequently caused him to fail to convert on routine plays.

This disappointment was on display over the weekend in Kansas City, in series where Everett started all three games. On Friday night, he committed an error while fielding a ground ball. In Saturday night's game, a wide throw from Everett pulled Justin Morneau off first base, allowing a runner who should have been out to reach. Yesterday, in the most egregious example of the weekend, Everett essentially cost the Twins a sweep-clinching victory when he allowed the tying run to score from third with two outs in the eighth inning because he threw high to first base after fielding a routine grounder that should have gotten the Twins to the ninth inning with a lead.

In fairness, Everett's poor defense has not necessarily been his fault. From the very beginning of the year he has been affected by shoulder problems, and he's spent much of the year on the disabled list as a result of these issues. Yet, as his performance during the past few days has shown, these issues continue to deter his performance and are still preventing him from getting the job done at shortstop. And since he cannot hit nor field adequately, Everett really has no use to this club. The Twins were on the verge of designating him for assignment a couple weeks ago before Alexi Casilla's injury, and that was the right decision. There are other players who can more effectively fill Everett's role.

Say what you will about Hernandez and Monroe, they did serve a purpose for this team. Hernandez ate a lot of innings and gave the team several Quality Starts, while Monroe delivered some huge home runs. When it became clear that the players had worn out their usefulness (well, maybe a little while after that became clear), the team parted ways with both and replaced them with more deserving replacements. The time is now to do the same with Everett.

24 comments:

Beau said...

To be fair, Everett did save a run early in the game with a stop that Harris or Punto probably wouldn't have made.

That said, I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but who?

Dan said...

i agree that Everett has no use as well. however, yesterdays loss was a total TEAM loss. All of it was bad except Baker.

Where can we begin, Mr. Kubel leaving 9 men on base all by himself....

Dan said...

Alejandro Machado is hitting .375/.395/.554 down in Rochester. I saw a game the other day and I didn't notice how he was on defense, but he hit the ball hard every time he was up and looks like he is seeing the ball well. He is also riding a 19 game hitting streak (he has 112 AB for the Red Wings)

Nick N. said...

Machado has undergone two shoulder surgeries in the past two years and I believe he is currently playing exclusively second base and DH for Rochester right now, so I don't know if he has the arm to play shortstop right now.

Sergio Santos is a guy who doesn't hit much but is a capable defender and could probably fill Everett's role.

i agree that Everett has no use as well. however, yesterdays loss was a total TEAM loss. All of it was bad except Baker.

That may be true, but nevertheless the team was up by a run with two outs in the eighth inning and Dennys Reyes managed to get what should have been an inning-ending ground ball. That Everett, a guy signed for his defensive prowess, couldn't turn that play into an out -- thus committing what should have been his third error of the series, is totally inexcusable in my mind.

Of course other players deserve some blame in the loss. That Craig Breslow twice failed to retire the worst-hitting position player in baseball during extra innings was pretty disappointing.

MVB said...

incredibly frustrating loss and it's surprising to think of where we are when you look at how poorly are offseason signings have been.

Leslie said...

I agree with you, Nick. Enough is enough. Adam has showed you nothing. I could live with his lack of offense, but I can't live with his lack of defense. He makes good plays, but often times than not, he makes too many simple errors that cost the Twins a game. It happened in this game yesterday and also Friday night. It's inexcusable for Everett to make a bad throw like that. This cost the Twins the game here. I am sick and tired of watching Everett come up lame too often. It isn't a coincidence that the Twins were struggling on defense in the beginning of the season with Everett at SS.

I know Everett will not play much when Casilla comes back. Everett might just be released by then, but the Twins are better off just letting him go because the Twins can't be giving games like what Everett did yesterday.

Nick N. said...

Everett getting a fourth consecutive start at SS tonight.

Sigh.

Leslie said...

You must be freaking kidding me?

I don't get it. What's wrong with Brendan Harris starting at shortstop? Harris has done more than what Everett has done with the bat and with the glove this year. I would think Gardy would make a change after this game. Everett wasn't exactly great this entire weekend. Unreal.

Dan said...

I believe everetts days are numbered and his starts will be rare if at all from now on.
but when you look at the twins recent roadtrip and losses, it is important to look at the context.
Everett owned up to his mistake to reporters and did not say anything about the rest of the team, which quite frankly, stunk and Everett became the easy scapegoat because it is a play he is supposed to make.

statements like "I cant live with his lack of defense" or "inexcusable" or "they can't give games like that away" I find either altruistic or ignorant.

baseball is baseball, it is a sport in which like most others at the professinoal level we really don't actually know the players and overall i think the twins players are trying hard not to "give games away"

everetts play was glaring because it stands out, but what about the numerous squandered oppurtunities, what about Gardys seemingly re-commitment to not use his best bullpen pitcher unless by chance they go into the 9th inning only and only if they have the lead.

the twins lost yesterday because they played awful baseball. to say that everett lost the game is to say that a basketball team lost in the late seconds because so and so missed a free throw that could have tied the game and pin it on that one play. Most likley the team lost because the team did not play good enough to win, such was the case yesterday and is usually always the case in team sports.

everetts throw kept the inning going and allowed for the game to be tied. To say that they would have one had he made the out would be probably true, but we still can't say for sure. Thats why you play 9 or in yesterdays case 12. besides.

Over all, I am thankful I am a Twins fan who grew up in Western Wisconsin and have followed them since the 87 season. I think they will play above expectations and contend for years to come, which is a little more hopeful outlook than the perpetually dissapointing Royals and their fans who have to watch them in a beautiful little ballpark.

dan said...

having just read the previous post Leslie, I am with you on What about Harris? He's been hitting the gaps pretty well latley with his bat. maybee he is hurt or something. If not, maybee Bill Smith can intervene on our behalfs and make an execuive desicion on pulling the plug on Everett

dan said...

lineup criticism is also something that is contagiuos, as Yanks fans are pretty irrate that Sexson gets continual playing time over Giambi and Damon is not in the lineup, so I'll take it.

Anonymous said...

Everett bomb?

Bill Lindeke said...

oops. one day too soon :)

Nick N. said...

Wow two homers this season now. I've been totally proven wrong. Guy's a stud.

ubelmann said...

Brendan Harris is not a major league shortstop. Every team he has ever played for learned this the hard way, and then pawned him off on someone else who had foolish hopes that all he needs is some instruction to improve, when he simply doesn't have the tools to hack it defensively at that position.

Everett's hurt, but even hurt, he's a much better defender than Harris. It's not like we're talking about Derek Jeter vs. Adam Everett, either. Harris hasn't even been 10 runs above replacement level with his bat this year, and easily gives all of that back when he's out in the field. Everett's no worse than Harris and any sort of outrage about Everett being in the lineup is woefully misplaced if it's directed at Gardenhire. When Everett and Harris are your two choices, you can't make a good choice.

Anonymous said...

awww nicky n is feeling testy

Nick N. said...

Brendan Harris is not a major league shortstop.

I'm sorry ubes, I know you like Everett, but he's not a major-league shortstop at this point either. He can't consistently throw the ball to first base, and that significantly decreases the value his above-average range and solid glove. I have about as much faith in Harris defensively at shortstop as I do in Everett; even if Harris is a little worse (no way I'll buy that it's any more than a little) he's a far better play than Everett because of his vastly superior production at the plate. Harris has been hitting quite well for the past few months.

Jason said...

What's up gents, Yankees fan in Boston here. Let me tell you the following about the FSN North broadcast, which I am watching on MLB extra innings: Bremer and Blyleven call an excellent game, and I'm strangely attracted to Marty Gellner.

Most away broadcasts are massively biased against the Yanks, like Staats and Magrane and the ultimate assholes Steve Physioc and rex hudler for the angels.

Dick and Bert are professionals.

Nick N. said...

Good to hear from you Jason. Most Twins fans actually don't particularly care for Bremer and Blyleven, although after having listened to numerous other broadcast teams I've certainly come to appreciate them in many ways. They tend to be a lot less homer-ish than some of the other guys out there (see: White Sox).

ubelmann said...

I have about as much faith in Harris defensively at shortstop as I do in Everett

It appears as if you have misplaced your faith.

Nick N. said...

It appears as if you have misplaced your faith.

You'd have an extremely difficult time convincing me of that. Everett's throws move in slow motion. He can't make routine plays with regularity. I'll take Harris and his limited range but consistent and strong arm.

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