Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Do the Red Sox Need Stephen Drew?


Well, that was easy. What else do you want to talk about?

OK. So maybe we should get into this a little bit more.

There has been a lot of discussion about Mr. Drew lately. Some have started to suggest that him coming back to Boston is a likely scenario. Some even saying it’s something that should happen. Some are actually even suggesting the Sox should sign him to a two-year deal.


Wasn’t Drew on the team on a one year deal last season so he could be tossed aside to make room for the kids in 2014? What happened to that plan? Suddenly there’s a problem with starting three rookies? Why wasn’t that a problem when the plan was set in motion last season? What changed?

Don’t get me wrong. I still believe in proven stars over potential. But, we’re not talking about proven stars. We’re talking about Stephen Drew.

And, I suppose, Jacoby Ellsbury.

As it stands, the Sox will have, basically, a rookie as their Opening Day starter at three positions. Bradley Jr. in center, Bogaerts at short, and Middlebrooks at third. That’s a third of the line-up. I’ll agree that it’s a lot to expect those three to come in and be stars right away. Even Bogaerts who pretty much everyone agrees is a stud. There is bound to be an adjustment period. Much like Middlebrooks last year. So, to assume those three rookies will lead the team is crazy.

Luckily, that’s not what the Sox are asking.

Last year the third base bag was manned by a combination of players made up of the likes of Middlebrooks, and Brock Holt, and Jose Iglesias. Even a little Pedro Ciriaco. No. I didn’t see the name “Mike Schmidt” in that list either. Even with his up and down year, in the 100 games or so Middlebrooks was with the Sox, he played at about the level of the rest of the people on the list. Are we making a huge leap of faith to expect that out of him again? Don’t think so. What is the big fear about handing the job to Will as a youngster? That he won’t be as good as Brock Holt?

Same thing at short. Sure, it’s a risk to give the job to a rookie. But, as good as Drew was, he wasn’t Nomar or anything. I think “Drew Numbers” are a pretty reasonable expectation for Bogaerts this season. Sure, some pitchers will be able to figure out some of his weaknesses. But, his plate discipline will always help him to be at least “pretty good.” The Sox aren’t expecting him to hit third in the order or anything. Drew certainly never did. So, even though we don’t know what to expect from him, I don’t need his ceiling this year. I think the floor is good enough.

The only real dip is in center where Ellsbury was worth about six wins according to baseball-reference, third on the team. That’s, obviously, not something to reasonably expect Jackie Bradley to duplicate. Sure, if you saw more of Nava and Gomes, that would help spread out the effect. But, those wins will still be out there.

What about if they give 3B to Bogaerts? Then they could add Drew and his three wins to also help offset for Ellsbury. In theory Drew/Bogaerts on the left side would be three wins better than Bogaerts/Middlebrooks?

But, that’s all dealing with the lowest expectations. It’s possible that Bogaerts could make up those six wins on his own. Or, maybe four. Or, Middlebrooks could grab one or two. Doesn’t it make the most sense to wait and see? Isn’t it a reasonable risk to take at this point?

Again, we’re not expecting stardom from any of the kids. I expect decency. Anything more than that, and the Sox are cruising again. I’m OK with that risk.

So, the Sox don’t need Stephen Drew.


  1. When will fans understand.... you don't need a 12 million dollar all star at every spot.

  2. I believe Drew's one year contract was because Boras wanted a pillow deal, a one season audition for Drew to re-establish his value for a multi year deal after coming off that bad ankle injury. When the Sox were offered that with their affection for short term deals they couldn't resist. I doubt that they thought Bogaerts would be ready in 2014 at the age of 21 and felt the one year would prevent him from getting blocked. Maybe, though, they felt Iglasias would be ready in 2014 but would they really trade their future starting shortstop if they ever really felt that he was their guy? I hope that they sign Drew. I'm a huge Bogaerts fan but he is, after all, very young and could struggle for a while before he takes off. More concerning is that Middlebrooks, who has played one whole season's worth of games over the course of two seasons, is very streaky. If he hits 0.190 in April and needs a trip to AAA to fix things, who is going to play? Then everyone will be wishing the Sox had signed Drew. He's not a star, just a solid vet on a short term deal. What's wrong with that? Oh, and if having Sizemore around is supposed to be good for Bradley, why wouldn't having Drew around not be good for Bogaerts?


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