Here's a Thought: For Once, I Agree With Omar Minaya

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Here's a Thought: For Once, I Agree With Omar Minaya
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I'm a member of the "new school," that typically looks hard at sabermetrics as a form of player evaluation and takes issue with those inside the game who don't.

Dayton Moore and Ed Wade are the two easiest targets in baseball front offices for sabermetric scorn, but the Mets' Omar Minaya is pretty close.

Then again, nobody likes Minaya these days; at least, I don't think many Mets fans do (as an A's fan, I wouldn't know). Heck, I just blasted his Rule 5 pick, Carlos Monasterios, in my last article.

But, for one night, I'm going to give the man some props.

Why?

Because yesterday, he signed Clint Everts to a one-year deal for the major league minimum.

Who?

If you've read Moneyball , you may remember Everts; he went fifth overall in that draft to the Expos. 

That, uh, didn't work out.

It's not that Everts pitched badly; it's that most of the time he wasn't pitching at all. A series of injuries limited him to 26 innings in 2003, 20 in 2004, and 36 in 2005. 

His control was lacking (with all the rust from time off, that's understandable), but Everts showed good strikeout ability and generally had ERAs in the 3s, which was fair enough for a high draft pick with injury problems.

Finally able to start 19 games in 2006, Everts went to High-A and...put up a 6.00 ERA.

He wasn't actually that bad ; he still struck out 92 in 90 innings, and got poor BABIP (.344) and strand rate (60.5%) luck, but one would expect more from a fifth overall pick.

It was 4 1/2 years since he was drafted, and Everts' best effort was a 4.58 High-A FIP in a pitcher's league?

2007 was no better. Everts lost some strikeout ability and his FIP remained basically the same (4.55). He was pulled from the rotation after 12 starts and moved to the bullpen. 

2008 saw Everts demoted to Low-A nearly six years after being drafted. He didn't pitch too well there (4.06 FIP), but went back to High-A after eight relief appearances anyway. 

Everts made some progress in his third crack at the level, striking out 75 batters and walking just 30 in 69 1/3 innings, but at age 24, this was hardly impressive. 

And yet, is this a sarcastic article about the pickup being a good move?

It isn't.

It isn't because the Clint Everts of 2009 was far different from the Clint Everts of 2002-2008. He had a 26/5 K/BB ratio in 20 innings at High-A, forcing a move to Double-A, which he shot through with a 2.52 FIP in just under 30 innings.

Everts ended the year in Triple-A, K'ing 11 men in 10 2/3 frames.

Everts still has a solid fastball in the low-90's, and a big curve that he's finally been able to locate in the strike zone. The guy was picked fifth overall for a reason, after all, and it's no surprise he's rarely had trouble striking guys out.

In short, Everts, having turned a corner in 2009, is a great option for a middle-relief spot in a bullpen without blowing a ton of money.

And that's what Minaya, one year after his unnecessary bullpen splurge, is doing here. Bullpens, more than any other area of a team, can be built quite well with $5 million and a strong scouting department.

Look at my A's. We have Andrew Bailey (small-college mid-round draft pick), Brad Ziegler (former indie leaguer), Joey Devine (ex-draft bust with Atlanta), Michael Wuertz (ex-extra arm with the Cubs), and Craig Breslow (journeyman picked off waivers) forming an extremely deep relief corps.

So congratulations, Omar. You made a good and cost-effective move...for once.

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