Red Sox Should Re-Approach Stephen Drew

Posted: May 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
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drewA year ago, the Boston Red Sox were among the best teams in baseball against right handed pitching. At 66-33, the Sox delivered the goods against righty starters during their storybook championship season. Three key reasons for that success are now gone; that being the incredible production from the left side of Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Stephen Drew. The latter two have moved on to moderate success with new franchises. But, Drew remains unsigned; partly due to the qualifying offer Boston extended towards the free agent last fall, and partly because of agent Scott Boras’ own stubbornness. One thing is for sure, the Red Sox could use his production.

At 10-19 vs. RH starters in 2014, Boston is quickly seeing their championship memories devolve into dust. The Sox, fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, are 20-23 overall. The pitching has been solid, as Boston has gotten exactly what they expected out of Jon Lester and John Lackey, while Jake Peavy has performed above expectations for the most part this spring.

The greatest concern on Yawkey Way is the Boston offense, which managed a measly 3 runs in their weekend series vs. Detroit. Youngsters Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. continue to struggle in their debut campaigns at the big league level. Their lack of production, coupled with a drastic void at the top-of-the-lineup, has left Boston’s offense 11th in the American League in runs scored. Boston lost three tremendous talents against righthanders this offseason. This is only important when one considers that 2/3 of all MLB pitchers are right handed. One is still available. That’s why Boston has no choice but to re-approach Boras about his client, Stephen Drew.

For Boston, signing Drew would be advantageous on multiple levels. First, it would provide them with offense from the left side of the infield. Drew can play both third and short, so a signing of the 31-year old wouldn’t necessarily hinder the development of Bogaerts, who can also field either position (though neither as well as Drew). Will “Mr. Jenny Dell” Middlebrooks, meanwhile, is struggling to hit his own weight, as his .197-2-9 line resembles Nick Punto’s prime stats more than an impact middle-of-the-order bat. Bogaerts and Middlebrooks have played a combined 62 games this year and put together a cumulative line of .245-4-16 that makes Julio Lugo’s Red Sox numbers look Ruthian.

Even more important than his fielding prowess or his ability to hit more consistently than Mr. Dell is Drew’s approach from the left side of the plate against righties. A year ago, Drew hit .284-9-48 against righties with an .876 OPS. By comparison, the drew2entire 2014 Red Sox’s roster has combined to hit .240-22-109 in 1017 AB against righties for a pathetic .686 OPS. 1017 AB is about double the amount of AB a player receives in a standard 162 game season. That means that, if the Red Sox’s lineup was a single player, he would be hitting .240-11-59 over the course of an entire season. Not exactly a world championship type of performance from the boys at Fenway.

There’s really no reason not to approach Drew at this point. The Sox wouldn’t have to relinquish a draft pick, as they were the team to provide him with the qualifying offer last fall. It’s also not as though they have anyone blocking his way, as Middlebrooks and Bogaerts haven’t done nearly enough at the MLB level to earn the mile-long leash they’re chained to.

In the end, the only obstacle standing between Drew and a reunion with the Red Sox may be greed. But, with a franchise worth over $1.5 billion and an owner willing to make it rain for foreign football franchises; the only excuse the Red Sox have at this point, like a teenage drama queen, is a refusal to admit that they were wrong.

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