New England Sports React

Shame on Drew

Sure, Xander Bogaerts hasn’t been a gold-glove shortstop this year, but is Stephen Drew the answer to the Sox’ defensive woes at the position?

They just had to do it. They just had to re-sign Stephen Drew.

After a frustrating start to the regular season, with the team in the midst of an eight-game nose dive right now, the Sox decided to call on Drew’s services, signing him to a one-year deal worth just north of $10 million. That’s pretty good money considering the shortstop went unsigned until the Red Sox baited him. But is Drew really worth it? Not even in today’s inflated MLB. Still, his glove is quite valuable, and on a team that is lacking consistency at the shortstop position as well as depth on the left side of the infield, its value nearly doubles. Anyone with eyes could see last year how Drew’s lateral quickness and rapid release had a positive impact on Boston’s infield defense. Double plays were almost a definite when ground balls were hit to either him or Dustin Pedroia, the two working so seamlessly together throughout the year. Yes, there’s no doubt that Drew will be an improvement over Xander Bogaerts at the position.

Where Stephen can’t compete with the rookie, however, is at the plate. While Bogaerts boasts raw power and a disciplined approach, Drew manages neither of the above. Sure, he can occasionally hit one out of the ballpark, but home runs aren’t really a part of his game. Free-swinging strikeouts and pop ups are more his style. Averaging .253 last year, Drew did manage 13 homers with 67 RBI, but also added 124 strikeouts. That was the second highest total on the team in 2013, behind only Mike Napoli. He certainly wasn’t brought in for his bat, there’s no question about that. It was his .984 fielding percentage last season that drew them in (no pun intended), especially when the primary starter at the position does more harm than good with his glove when he’s out there.

I understand the logistics behind the move, don’t get me wrong, but what happened to committing yourselves to the idea that this was to be Bogearts’ year to hone his abilities at the major league level, playing his natural shortstop while doing so. The kid is clearly upset about the sudden move, voicing his obvious displeasure in the media as well as with his bat, hitting more consistently than he has all season. The signing of Drew brings to mind a reasonable question: is J.D. Drew’s brother really that much of an upgrade defensively, at least enough to mess with the psychology of a rookie superstar? I certainly don’t think so, but Red Sox upper management disagrees with me. Which is fine, considering I wasn’t a fan of a couple different moves made prior to last season. Look how that turned out. Maybe this situation will have the same end result. If not, then shame on you, Red Sox.

-Ryan Hartley

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