July 1, 2003
Literally minutes after I finished writing the following words...
"And, while acquiring Alomar doesn't make them a much better team in my opinion, the fact that they are in the business of acquiring players and not trading away players is what worries me a bit."
As I type this a few minutes after hearing about the trade, I am not quite sure what to make of it.
The Twins' announcers were talking about how Chicago GM Kenny Williams told them that he was planning on making "one more big move" before the all-star break. I would assume that this is that big move and, in a way, I guess I am happy they got Carl Everett and not Carlos Beltran or someone like that.
That said, Carl Everett is definitely an impact player. He is hitting .274/.356/.544 so far this year and, while he had down years in 2001 and 2002, he hit .300/.373/.587 in 2000 and .325/.398/.571 in 1999.
The big question for me right now is what position Everett is going to play with Chicago. Everett played left field, center field and right field for the Rangers this year and also served as their DH. The White Sox have Carlos Lee in left field and Magglio Ordonez in right field, so those two spots don't seem to be options for Everett.
Everett is "stretched" as a centerfielder (to say the least), but that is the position at which his offense could make the biggest difference.
Chicago centerfielders - a group which includes Aaron Rowand, Armando Rios, Willie Harris, Joe Borchard and even a few games of Magglio Ordonez - are hitting just .221/.304/.264 this season. That is a combined .568 OPS from their CFs, which is the worst production at that position among all 30 MLB teams this season. So, if they stick Crazy Carl in center, they go from the worst offensive production to a guy that is slugging .544 this year and .478 for his career.
On the other hand, along with whatever offensive gains they get by replacing Rowand/Rios/Harris/Borchard in CF with Everett, comes a serious defensive drop-off. Calculating the value of defense is a lot harder than offense, so I can't speak of the defensive impact with the same certainty that I just spoke about the offensive impact. I will say that I would consider Everett to be one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball and I think both Aaron Rowand and Willie Harris are pretty good defensively in center. Whether that is worth 10 runs a year or 30 runs a year or 50 runs a year, I don't know for sure.
(In case you're wondering, Diamond-Mind gave both Rowand and Harris a "Very Good" rating in CF last year, while Everett got a "Poor.")
If the Sox decide the defensive problems that come along with Everett in CF are not worth the offensive gains, they will almost certainly play him as their designated hitter. This is the confusing part to me. Playing Everett full-time at DH would mean Frank Thomas is the everyday first baseman. That in itself comes with a defensive drop-off, although first base defense is nowhere near as important as CF defense.
AB AVG OBP SLG
Everett 270 .274 .356 .544
Konerko 211 .185 .260 .265
Daubach 109 .248 .354 .404
Looking at those performances from this season, trading for Everett and playing him at DH appears to be a no-brainer. Paul Konerko has been an absolutely disaster this year - one of the worst hitters in all of baseball. Brian Daubach has been much better, but he is still not hitting at an acceptable level for a 1B/DH.
On the other hand, check out their performances over the last 3 years:
AB AVG OBP SLG
Everett 1279 .277 .345 .496
Konerko 1676 .294 .357 .496
Daubach 1346 .259 .337 .472
Depending on if you want to look at 2003's numbers or 2000-2002's numbers, the White Sox either made a huge offensive upgrade at DH or acquired a player with similar offensive abilities to two guys they already had.
I think I would go somewhere in the middle and say that Everett is an upgrade over whatever combination of Konerko and Daubach the Sox would have used, but not a huge upgrade. Of course, if the White Sox knew that Konerko and Daubach were going to continue to hit like they have during the first-half of this season and not how they have hit over the last 3 years or so, then this was a brilliant move.
At the end of the day, I think the Chicago White Sox have improved themselves. They have added two veteran players, one of whom is going to be in the Hall of Fame and another who is slugging .544 this season. On the other hand, unless Everett ends up playing CF, they are replacing two spots in their lineup - DH and 2B - that could very well have given them the exact same production without the two new players. And, in getting Alomar and Everett, they traded away several of their valuable prospects.
For all my fellow Twins fans out there, Chicago's trading yesterday is not a reason to panic. Especially not when your own team is providing plenty of reason to panic on their own. If the White Sox win the AL Central this season, it won't be because of Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett, it will be because the Minnesota Twins let them win it.
AL CENTRAL THROUGH 7/1/2003
W L GB WIN%
Kansas City 43 38 --- .531
Minnesota 43 39 0.5 .524
Chicago 41 42 3.0 .494
Tampa Bay (Bell) +350 over Boston (Martinez)
Total to date: + $2,105
W/L record: 160-150 (1-1 yesterday for $0 and still hanging on above 2K.)
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