|Red Sox Have Contacted Adam Everett||12.01.09 at 12:35 pm ET|
While the free-agent market has moved, by and large, at a deliberate pace this offseason, that has not been the case at one position in recent days. The Marco Scutaro is the consensus best shortstop available in free agency. In 2009, his package of offense and defense ranked him as one of the better shortstops in the game.
Beyond Scutaro, however, it is fair to wonder whether there are any viable free-agent options at the shortstop position, particularly given that Alex Gonzalez has signed with Toronto and several other players (Alex Cora, Juan Castro, Omar Vizquel, John McDonald) have already signed deals. If the Sox were willing to sacrifice offense at the position (something they would have done had they re-signed Gonzalez), then one possibility would be to pursue Adam Everett, who is the best defensive shortstop remaining on the market.
According to a baseball source, the Red Sox have contacted Everett to express some preliminary interest in the shortstop. The Sox have not made an offer to Everett, nor have they made a conditional offer along the lines of the one they made to Alex Gonzalez (who was told the Sox would offer him a $3 million deal for 2010 at the Winter Meetings if they hadn’t signed anyone else by then) before he signed with the Blue Jays last week.
Everett, who was a first-round draft pick of the Red Sox in 1998, played 118 games for the Tigers in 2009, hitting .238 with a .288 OBP, .325 slugging mark and .613 OPS. Though his offense is limited, he is considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He has been contacted by a handful of teams that have discussed, in general terms, the possibility of signing him as a starter.
Everett, according to UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games, which measures plays made by a position player compared to the average defensive player at his position, and converts that into the number of runs saved or allowed as compared to an average player), ranked as the third best defensive shortstop in the game last year, behind only Wilson and Cesar Izturis of the Orioles. Projected over 150 games, Everett saved 13.6 runs over the average shortstop over 150 games. That number was slightly ahead of Alex Gonzalez, who finished fifth among big-league shortstops by having saved 10.5 runs per 150 games.
According to John Dewan’s Plus/Minus system (evaluating the number of plays converted into an out by a player as compared to an average defender at his position), Everett made nine more plays than would have an average shortstop, a mark that would still have him in the top half of defensive players in the majors.
Of course, it may well be that the contact with Everett is just part of the Sox’ efforts to explore every alternative this offseason, including, reportedly, the possibility of having Dustin Pedroia play at the position.
For more on the free-agent shortstop market, click here.
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