Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stephen Drew Is Not The Answer

The other day it was rumored that the Yankees were interested in making a run at Stephen Drew, and I commented on that news here at The Greedy Pinstripes that I was for it. Although I didn't do any research into the possible move, and just assumed Drew > Johnson, I was wrong. Here's why...

Over the last three seasons, while playing for Arizona, Oakland, and Boston, Drew has hit .245/.322/.403 with 25 home runs. All of that is good for a bWAR of just 4.6. And it's worth noting that during those three years Drew made $21.9 million.

Meanwhile, the guy he would likely replace as the Yankees third baseman in 2014, Kelly Johnson, has hit .226/.307/.395 with 53 home runs. Those numbers, along with some other stuff, was good for a bWAR of 4.7.

Basically, thanks to a few more home runs, both Johnson and Drew are worth just as much to their team. But the difference comes in the fact that Stephen Drew could very well make three times as much in 2014 as Kelly Johnson is (Johnson will make $3 million). The dollar amounts just don't add up in Drew's favor... not by a long shot.

"Yeah, the math is all wrong."

The only thing that may be good about signing Stephen Drew would have to do with Derek Jeter. Jeter will turn 40 years old on June 26th, and is currently playing with a one-year deal with the Yankees. That doesn't mean this is Derek's final season, but I wouldn't call you crazy if you thought that. For that reason, Drew would slide in at shortstop in 2014 and beyond.

But is that a good thing? I don't think so.

Drew's bat is nothing to write home about, although he's a good defender. But there are plenty of guys like that. Heck, Brendan Ryan is one of the best fielders in baseball, but I don't hear any Yankee fans begging the team to lock him up long-term. I don't think anybody is clamoring for Ryan to be Jeter's heir, either. 

Not only is Stephen Drew not a great choice to replace Derek Jeter, but there are some intriguing shortstops that will be free agents next year...

Asdrubal Cabrera - He had a down year in 2013, batting .242/.299/.402, but the Venezuelan is just 28 years old, and he hit .273/.333/.419 the previous three seasons. In 2012 and 2011, Asdrubal was an All Star selection, and actually won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011. Unfortunately, Cabrera's UZR/150 of -16.8 last season at shortstop does not help matters.

Jed Lowrie - Although Jed's 2013 season, in which he hit .290/.344/.446, is a bit of an outlier, that type of production is not unheard of from the 29 year-old shortstop. Back in 2010, with the Red Sox, Lowrie hit .287/.381/.526 in 55 games. However, like Cabrera, Lowrie's UZR/150 of -9.2 at short last season doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence.

Hanley Ramirez - Even though his performances in 2011 and 2012 are far from amazing, as he hit .252/.326/.416 with 34 home runs, Hanley's numbers in 2013 made people think the guy they saw between 2006 and 2010 may still be around. Last season, Ramirez bounced back and hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs. Mind you, Ramirez has never been a defensive whiz at short, but he was average there last season (0.5 UZR/150). 

The point of this is Stephen Drew is not the answer to the Yankees infield woes for 2014, nor is he the answer at shortstop for 2015 and beyond. If it comes down to Drew or Johnson, I'm perfectly content in seeing if Kelly can continue to hit double-digit home runs while playing above average defense at third base (24.4 UZR/150 there in 118 innings last season with the Rays).

High fives for being just "okay".

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad somebody besides me thinks that. Drew isn't a terrible player, but he's not worth what he's asking for, or the loss of the draft pick. Mediocre bat, good defense, and injury prone. We have a roster full of infielders like that that signed for a lot less this year.


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