Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thoughts On Stephen Drew Signing

Last night, as Daniel reported, the Yankees signed Stephen Drew to a 1 year contract. The deal gives Drew a base salary of $5 million, with the ability to make another $1.5 million based on plate appearances ($500,000 for reaching 450, 500, and 550 plate appearances).

My reaction may have been a little over the top, and it was definitely done without giving the signing any thought. The main reason I was upset was because of how excited I was to see the starting lineup have so much youth, meaning it would included either Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder, and now it's pretty clear that the kids are out of the starting second base job and Drew is in.

And it's not like Drew had even a "ok" season in 2014, as he hit .162/.237/.299 in 300 plate appearances between Boston and New York. Although, to be fair, his defense was pretty good.

So it was either Pirela/Refsnyder or Drew at 2B. Why not try out a kid with upside, rather a than a player that's had one season at or above replacement level in the last four years? But after reading reactions from others the signing at least makes some sense.

For starters, this move gives the Yankees an option should Didi Gregorius not pan out at shortstop. I mean, it's no given that Gregorius is going to work out, so having somebody like Drew that could take over at shortstop is not a bad thing. Especially when the current backup shortstop is Brendan Ryan.

Speaking of Ryan, there's a chance that his time in pinstripes is just about done. The 40-man roster is currently full, meaning somebody is getting the ax. With Ryan, Gregorius, Drew, Pirela, and Refsnyder around it would make sense for the Yankees to make a cut here.

The signing of Drew also opens up the possibility to throw one of Pirela, who had an incredible season in the Arizona Fall League, or Refnsyder into a deal that could land a big-time starter. Although I don't think that's necessarily true, as Pirela or Refsnyder look to be long-term options at 2B, and dealing away one of them lowers the chances of filling that position from within. I mean, what are the chances both of them pan out, or the Yankees keeping the right one of the two? I'd rather hold onto both options and see.

You also have to keep in mind that the Yankees payroll is well over $200 million, meaning Drew's contract is hardly crippling to them. Should he have another horrible season, while Gregorius and one of Pirela or Refsnyder are doing well, the team could just cut Drew and eat his remaining salary, which at that point may only be a few million dollars (aka "the amount of money found in the couch cushions at Hal Steinbrenner's house").

So let one of Pirela or Refnsyder learn from the Yankee bench out of Spring Training, while the other guy goes to AAA and gets regular playing time and works on his game. By the way, I'd prefer Pirela on the Yankees bench, as he has played every position but pitcher and catcher in the minors.

And who knows? Not long ago Stephen Drew was a good all-around player, at least for a middle infielder, and he could be that guy again since he's now healthy and will have go through Spring Training this time around. And being a left-handed hitter at Yankee Stadium could mean 15-20 home runs are a very good possibility.


  1. Bryan...
    I had the same reaction!
    But soon came to about the same conclusion as you.
    (Commented on another post)

  2. I see the reasoning behind it I am just confused by the total picture. you're either rebuilding or you're re-tooling. We seem to be doing a little of both.

    1. They way I see it: the Yankees are re-tooling, just doing it cheaply

    2. If your definition of re-tooling is Stephen Drew then it's obvious we have two different definitions for the same word. That's called stop gapping (and we don't need a stop gap)

  3. I stated months ago I would have preferred signing Drew for SS and kept Greene because I think you could see Didi go down to the farm as he has options left. Let the three kids fight it out for two spots since Drew can play both positions and the loser of spring training goes down to the farm. I think Pirela and Refsnyder are going to have a great camp

    1. If I knew then what I know now I think I would have been more inclined to agree with you. Problem is though next year we'd be in the same boat. No prospects close at SS and no free agents worth a damn at SS. We'd be back to begging management for Troy Tulowitzki or signing Stephen Drew to another one year deal. Didi gives us some wiggle room and time to decide what we want to do, for better or worse.

      All in all I think I still would have traded Greene, who's ceiling is a #3 starter mind you not an ace, and acquired Didi.

  4. I agree with that!
    Also, Drew can play all four positions in the infield if needed, as can Pirela.

    1. So no need for Ryan, DFA him. Put Pirela on the bench.


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