December 7th, 2009

Tigers, Everett agree to one-year deal

What had been negotiations on hold for Adam Everett quickly became a deal Monday evening. The two sides agreed to terms on a one-year contract, bringing back the shortstop credited with helping improve Detroit’s infield defense.

The deal came together quickly, just hours after negotiations seemed to be in a holding pattern and Everett was drawing some interest from the Pirates. The Tigers, meanwhile, had been talking with the agent for fellow free-agent shortstop Bobby Crosby.

It was around the first day of last year’s Winter Meetings that the Tigers reached an agreement with Everett, then coming off an injury-shortened campaign with the Twins. He rebounded in 2009 by retaking his role among the better defensive shortstops in baseball.

Everett’s 8.9 Ultimate Zone Rating, a measure of balls hit into a position player’s area that he should get, ranked fourth among Major League shortstops. He committed 14 errors out of 457 total chances over 118 games for a .969 fielding percentage.

Everett’s offense, never his strength, still ended up better than many expected when he signed. He batted .238 with 21 doubles, three home runs and 44 RBIs, while batting .270 with runners in scoring position. He hit .364 (8-for-22) with a runner on third and two out.

Everett’s return, or some sort of veteran shortstop, became all the more important once the Tigers officially lost free agent second baseman Placido Polanco to the Phillies last week.

“Basically, we have our infield back except for the change at second base,” said team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, whose team now will count on rookie Scott Sizemore to take over at second.

Everett will continue to take the bulk of the duty at shortstop, with Ramon Santiago being mixed in.

Interesting setup for winter meetings

For those who view baseball’s winter meetings as a bunch of GMs and team executives talking in a lobby, it isn’t quite that way. It’s a busy lobby, yes, but teams do their business up in their hotel suites and go from room to room. Best to keep things quiet that way.

That isn’t easy at this year’s meetings, though. Unlike previous years, when every team stayed at the same hotel, there are a handful of teams staying at a different hotel than the rest. The Marriott is the center of most of the action, but the Tigers and a few other clubs are at the Westin across the street. For face-to-face business, they have to either come to the Marriott or have another team come to them.

There’s a skywalk, but it doesn’t directly connect the hotels, only going through the large convention center the next block down. The alternative is to step outside into the winter weather and cross the street.

Or they could just do it by phone, which is what happens a lot anyway. Still, it limits part of the dynamic going on.