Stephen Drew was one of the hottest names on the free agent market this offseason after his season with the Red Sox where he played his part on the pennant winning franchise. Drew’s defense, as it has been throughout his eight year career, was unparalleled as he helped lock down the left side of the Red Sox’ infield.
Three weeks into the 2014 season, Drew still remains unsigned and I have to believe that his value is not getting any higher as we get deeper and deeper into the year. A strong population of Mets fans demanded that Sandy Alderson pull the trigger and bring in Drew to be the starting shortstop. After looking into the matter thoroughly, I stand by my point of view that the Mets should not sign Stephen Drew.
There is upside to signing Stephen Drew, especially if it is on a one-year deal. First off, he is a lock down defender as well as an above average power hitter as far as shortstops come. He averages 16 homeruns a year, which is a strong stat for a shortstop. However, I believe that the cons completely outweigh the pros in this case.
First off, Drew is a 31 year old who missed significant time in 2011 and 2012 due to injuries. His batting average had been on the decline ever since his rookie season in 2006 where he hit .316, the only year he eclipsed the .300 mark.
The past two seasons, Drew has batted .250 and .253 respectively, with low .300 OBP’s. This isn’t awful, but I don’t think it is anything to write home about. His homerun numbers jumped to 13 last year, the most he has hit since the 15 he hit in 2010.
I don’t believe Drew’s power numbers will transfer well to Citi Field and his power numbers will decline like most players who play in the cavernous ballpark.
Most people will argue that anyone is an improvement over Ruben Tejada and frankly, they are right. Ruben Tejada is a major leaguer who might have a career as a utility player at best. However, Tejada has been given a bad wrap by Mets executives and fans alike. Do I think he is the future? Of course not.
Believe it or not, his career batting average is .257 with a .321 OBP, two stats that come very close to those of Drew’s. Tejada is not the best defender at the position, but I think he holds his own, at least in the short term. Tejada has a .971 fielding percentage, close to dead on that of Stephen Drew.
Scott Boras, Drew’s client, has been reportedly demanding multi year deals in the $12-$15 million range. Is that worth it to sign a minimally better shortstop in Drew?
Also, the Mets are unsure of their future plans as far as acquiring a bat for their lineup. It can be speculated that the bat could come in the form of a shortstop from another team. Signing Drew to a multi year deal could block a position that could be held by a better offensive player in the future, depending on who the Mets can trade for or sign in the coming year and offseason.
I wouldn’t be mad with Stephen Drew, especially on a one-year deal. But a multi year deal with figures over $10 million doesn’t seem worth it to me.
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