Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stephen Drew, Where art thou?

Thirty year old free agent shortstop (by trade) Stephen Drew is still on the open market and like many other fans I am wondering why the Yankees haven't pounced? Well if it was that simple the issue would of already been resolved so lets look at whats in front of the Yankees.

When the Yankees signed Japenese sensation Masahiro Tanaka back in January they effectively abolished the $189 million dollar payroll idea. With that in mind, why don't they just keep spending? If they are willing to go this far to field a championship team then they ought not stop there. Signing Tanaka was not only needed it was necessary, so when they shattered that magical one-eight-nine number they should of shattered even more.

As I picture it, the Opening Day 2014 New York Yankees infield looks like this:
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Brian Roberts
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Kelly Johnson

Doesn't sound like the most dominating crew now does it? Lets take a look at the numbers. 1B through SS had a COMBINED 432 PA and averaged a whopping 0.1 WAR. Now, I know that given a full season Mark Teixeira won't post a -0.2 WAR and if The Captain can stay healthy he'll put up much more than 73 PA but when we start getting into this IF business it starts looking like a lot of things must go right. Brian Roberts is probably even a bigger "if" then Jeter. I know all Yankee fans have heard this dreary evaluation so the point I am trying to make is Stephen Drew looks like a very attractive platoon that could be stretched to play 3B, SS and 2B. Now I know Drew is looking for regular playing time but when looking at the Yankees infield, if he's willing to get that playing time at multiple positions it could happen.

Lets give Stephen Drew the microscope treatment for a moment.
What does he bring to the plate? Well Drew is an average defender (at best) who could bring a slighlty above average bat (for a shortstop). Drew has shown the ability to have a 3 WAR season (2013=3.4), although that will probably fall to about 2 over the next few years. Drew brings a solid bat to the plate and has shown some on base ability with the potential to drive in some runs posting a 109 wRC+ last season. I am not projecting Drew to be a spectacular talent covering all of our infield holes but his proven talent platooning those holes with Johnson, Roberts, Brendan Ryan and Jeter is much more attractive than him not being there.

Daniel reported today through Adam Rubin that the soon to be thirty-one year old is looking for a two year deal with an opt-out clause after his first year. This is where I see the Yankees getting held up, why give him $10-12 million in 2014 with the possibility of him saying bye bye in 2015? Especially when he put up a .196/.246/.340 with a 53 wRC+ stat line against southpaws in 2013. The Mets seem to be unattracted by the idea of an opt-out and besides Boston I don't see a market for Drew. There is the good, the bad, and some ugly with Drew but with some big market acquisitions this off-season and a PECOTA system that still sees the Yankees with a win total in the 80's it just feels like there is work to be done. Hopefully we will have some clarification in the coming weeks. 


  1. I'll reiterate...

    1. Bryan,
      I agree with most of your article, however, Drew can play 2B as well. Platooning these positions seems to be like the plan and without Drew it becomes a weaker platoon. I did point out in my article that the money would be an issue.

    2. I am completely in tune with your assessment of Kelly Johnson, but if the money is right Drew would be a nice complementary piece to throw into the infield rotation.

  2. I agree Bryan...
    Of those we do have I see Nunez as the 3rd baseman, he will commit an error or two maybe more, although I doubt it! I don't see much difference on the defensive side and on the offensive side, he is much more versatile than Kelly.
    Give him all of ST and until June to prove the job is his...or not! Of the three (2nd, 3rd and SS) 3rd is the easiest to learn...and the least demanding! He has had all winter to get himself ready, IF he can't do the job by June......!

    1. What pray tell is ...Oh Ken?

      I hope you can accept differing opinions without feeling put upon!
      Some of my comments sound overly commanding or final! I am a work in progress, one could say!

    2. I could say the same for myself my friend.

    3. I think Nunez could handle the third base job every day as well, he did an awesome job there last season. His arm is strong enough for it too.He's not Plan A, that's for sure, but he isn't the worst Plan B either.

    4. I still just feel as though for the right price Drew is a better plan B. Personally, you will never sell me on Nunez. This is a guy who brings virtually nothing to the plate, he has below average defense that should make you shiver and his bat (IF it shows up is average.. at best...for a shortstop).

    5. Nunez has never really had much of a chance to play everyday, at one position. Even on the farm they moved him around.
      The one year he played a lot he carried a .286 +/- until they started with one day at 2nd, next at 3rd etc. his hitting suffered a lot with all the changes.
      I have seen guys such as he; they are slow learners but, when they get it...they got it.
      May we hope he is one!

    6. I need somebody to explain to me what the big deal about Drew is. What I see is an average defender, a below average offensive contributed, injury prone overrated and overpriced Boras client that will cost us another draft pick. How is this guy better than a combination of Johnson/Nunez/Anna? I don't see a .260 hitter with minimal power and production being worth $10million+ and a draft pick.

    7. Jeff,
      The issue I see here is until Nunez truly proves he capable of handling himself out there he is still nothing, I hear some good things about Anna but again, not much in the pudding. Johnson has people raving about his 3B abilities and he brings along with that a solid bat. The problem is there is to many IF factors involved. The money and draft pick concern me as well, however, having Drew involved with the mix of guys to fill in the roles would be better than not having him. Johnson's natural position is 2B, which is something we don't have (please don't say Roberts) and Drew has the ability to play third. Johnson at 2B and Drew at 3B is much more appealing to me then Roberts at 2B and Johnson at 3B. That leaves Ryan, who only brings defense, Anna, who is unproven and Nunez, who is well... Uhmm, the backups for Jeter.

    8. I agree with you on Roberts. I'm definitely not expecting anywhere near a full season from him. That being said, I wouldn't expect it from Drew either. He hasn't played a full season since 2010. Last year was the first time he's gone over 400 at bats in 3 years. He hit .253 with 13 hr's, and 67 rbi's, and a .978 fielding percentage. To me, that's well below average, but somebody had him at 3.1 war. I believe in sabermetrics ( I've enjoyed your posts), but I'm just not seeing it with Drew. There is no way he is worth the risk or the cost. I believe that there's better options already under contract. Drew at 3/$15 million with no draft pick, I'm on board. I just don't see him worth more. Infante was a better player and signed for 3/$24.

    9. I if it Drew!
      This is one time Saber's don't count with Nunez...reason is, he did well last year at 3rd, it is a much simpler position to play and he is an athlete! Hell 75% of the 3rd basemen out there right now make as many if not more errors than he will.
      Money and a draft way. $$$$ is $$$$ but, draft picks may become another Mickey, Jeter or CC!

    10. Jeff,
      Thanks for reading the Saber Series! I see where you are coming from I really do, the money would have to be a steal but I feel as though what we he right not isn't going to do it. That's not to say that having Drew makes us champions but I believe it's solid infield piece. I wanted Infante so bad but it just didn't work out.

      I'm sorry but I can't picture a universe were Numez is a better option at 3B then Johnson.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)