Stephen Drew Is Awesome Alert
Well, “awesome” might be pushing it; he’s definitely not in the same league as his dreamy, amazing brother (who, incidentally, could come back from missing most of 2011 and all of 2012 and still be a better hitter than Ryan Kalish ever will be). But he does have a solid bat (career 96 OPS+), he does play a decent shortstop (although he probably won’t be as good there going forward as he has been), and most importantly he is neither Jose Iglesias nor Pedro Ciriaco. Therefore, it should come as no major shock that I’m nearly overjoyed to see him sign with the Red Sox for 2013.
The one-year, $9.5 million contract is actually a higher annual value than what I called for when I compared him to Marco Scutaro. On the other hand, of course, it’s just for one year, bringing to mind the deal the Red Sox struck with Adrian Beltre just before the 2010 season. I think it’s safe to say that that worked out pretty well for everyone involved.
To be fair, I don’t have the same hopes for this contract that I did for Beltre’s; I think Drew will provide fair value to the Sox, but at the same time there isn’t the obvious “this guy’s going from a park that kills him to one in which he was born to play” factor that makes me think he’ll be a massive bargain at nearly ten million dollars. While his bat seemed to show signs of rejuvenation in Oakland after being traded last year, the same can’t be said of his legs; by UZR, Drew cost the A’s 4.4 runs in just 350 innings, a figure that works out to more than a win and a half over 150 games.
Now, obviously, UZR itself is a flawed metric, and its best use is in samples of three or more years–not the 39 games that Drew played with Oakland last year. But even if he isn’t a true talent -16.9 UZR defender, it’s not hard to say that his ankle injury has probably robbed him of the ability to play anything more than acceptable (albeit below average) shortstop defense.
Stephen Drew is far from a perfect option. But he didn’t cost the kind of prospects that Cleveland would demand for Asdrubal Cabrera, he doesn’t come with the baggage of Yunel Escobar, and–most importantly–he isn’t Jose Iglesias. For that reason alone, he really is awesome.