Tag Archives: Stephen Drew

Red Sox Report: West Coast Struggle, Further Buries Sox

Red Sox Continue West Coast Struggles

The West Coast trips that the Red Sox used to enjoy in June and July the past few years are something of the past. Losers of five of six on the trip so far, the Sox send Clay Buchholz to the mound tonight in Seattle and he will be making his first start off the disabled list. Buchholz was said to have a hyperextended knee, but most feel it was all just in his head and his confidence was down so the team shut him down. He had two rehab starts in AAA Pawtucket which both went well, so the team has to hope he picks up in Seattle.

Clay Buchholz Red Sox

Clay Buchholz returns to the mound tonight in Seattle.

The rotation is now in a state of flux with Buchholz returning. Last night Jake Peavy did not help his case to stick in the rotation surrendering seven runs to the Seattle offense. Brandon Workman will start Friday in New York after serving his six game suspension. Rubby De La Rosa, has looked great in his starts, finally showing that he was the prize of the salary dump deal with the Dodgers in the summer of 2012. Felix Doubront’s return to the rotation last week in Oakland did not go well, as he could not get out of the fifth inning. The right choice right now is letting Workman and De La Rosa continue to take a regular turn in the rotation, but with Buchholz, Peavy and Doubront on the roster, that likely will be tough. Doubront did come out of the bullpen in mop up duty last night for two innings, so his turn in the rotation might be in question as well.

The Red Sox have the third worst record in the American League, is it time to focus on 2015? Today the Sox designated Chris Capuano for assignment, which could fuel a series of moves, riding themselves of veteran contracts in hopes of adding to a full farm system. Trading away prospects at this point, would be a true waste, too many teams are in contention to trade away a valuable bat that the Sox need in the middle of the lineup. Veterans to likely be gone by July 31st are A.J. Pierzynski, Jonny Gomes, and Jake Peavy. All three are free agents at the end of the season and will likely not be back with the team next year.

Koji Uehara and Stephen Drew also could also be dealt, Uehara is an interesting case, whether the team wants to chance resigning him in the offseason and seeing if he can be lights out again at age 40 remains to be seen. Stephen Drew has not been what the Red Sox hoped since the mid season signing. Drew, likely came back too soon and was nursing a sore quad for a few days after his debut. Also, moving Xander Bogaerts to third base has proved to be the wrong decision, as his offense has dipped. Some might say the two do not correlate but the writing is on the wall.

Xander Bogaerts Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts production has fallen since the signing of Stephen Drew.

Not saying it is over for these Red Sox, but this year’s team is not the team of 2013. The offense is not getting timely hits, the starting pitching is too inconsistent, and the moves Ben Cherington made did not turn into gold. Not every move a general manager makes is gold like his off season of 2012, but not finding another outfield bat is largely Cherington’s fault. Expecting Jackie Bradley Jr. to provide the same production as Jacoby Ellsbury was not happening. Daniel Nava over performed last season so a drop off had to be expected. And Shane Victorino was hurt most of the last season, so they had to expect the same for this year. The Red Sox do not return home until next Monday against the Cubs, the team will look the same as it left, but with many more questions marks on who is staying and who is going.

Initial Reaction to Stephen Drew’s Red Sox Return

Drew will need to improve upon his season debut

Drew will need to improve upon his season debut

Last night’s series opener against the Indians in Cleveland also featured the beginning of Stephen Drew’s season with the Red Sox. Drew’s signing provided plenty of controversy and mixed reactions from fans and analysts alike, but last night’s performance from the veteran shortstop was nothing out of the ordinary. While we may be able to read enough into last night’s debut to project what we can expect of Drew going forward, we must also operate with the knowledge that a game, a week, or even a month do not make a season. Therefore, any expectations we set for Drew could just as likely be exceeded or fall short. Drew was not even playing in organized games until several weeks ago, so it is reasonable to expect some rust or adjustment period to facing major league pitchers, even when considering his minor league rehab assignment. With that being said, as far as Stephen Drew is concerned last night’s game in Cleveland was a flashback to 2013, which may not be as good for the Red Sox as some think.

Despite being billed as a good offensive shortstop who can save the lineup from its struggles, Drew was a virtual non-factor at the plate in his season debut. His inaugural 2014 performance saw him go 0-2 with a walk and a strikeout from the eighth spot in the order. While the walk is a testament to his ability to take pitches and work the count, the strikeout was less inspiring in that it was the result of Drew chasing a breaking ball in the dirt that could easily have been laid off. In addition, Drew did not once get the ball out of the infield in his three plate appearances last night, suggesting that the prodigious offensive performance some would have you expect may not be on the immediate horizon for Drew. The immediate reaction from last night’s offensive showing should tell us to expect much of the same from Drew this season as we got last season: he will work the count and get his walks, but he will also strikeout a good deal and will be nothing more than marginally above-average at best with the stick.

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Brock Holt Deserves a Permanent Spot on Red Sox Roster

Holt has been the Red Sox' unsung hero in 2014

Holt has been the Red Sox’ unsung hero in 2014

Until recently, one of the major issues facing the Red Sox’ lineup was getting production out of the leadoff spot following Jacoby Ellsbury’s defection to the Bronx. Several players have been thrown into the mix throughout the course of the 2104 season, including Daniel Nava, Grady Sizemore, and Dustin Pedroia. None of those players provided much of a spark at the top of the order, and it was becoming clear that an upgrade was necessary if the offense hoped to gain any kind of potency for the rest of the season. Enter injury replacement call-up Brock Holt. Holt has been one of the hottest hitters in the game since he was called back to Boston on April 18th, and he deserves a permanent spot on the Red Sox roster.

Holt has so far provided a spark that the top of the Red Sox lineup had been lacking before his placement there. He has only been hitting out of the leadoff spot for about a week, but Holt has put up a very respectable .305/.352/.427 triple-slash, with a couple stolen bases mixed in. The Red Sox feature several hitters that have good on-base ability and can set the table for the rest of the lineup, but so far none of them have been able to consistently do it from atop the lineup as Holt has done this season. Holt has been the prototypical leadoff type of hitter this season: one that hits for a high average, can get on base, and is athletic enough to at least put pressure on the defense from the basepaths. The Red Sox need to make every effort to keep Holt atop the lineup as much as possible.

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Red Sox Report: Amdist Skid, Is It Time To Push The Panic Button?

The Red Sox are not playing good baseball right now. There is no other way to put it. Yesterday put an exclamation point on a team that has now lost 7 games in a row and was just swept in two series at home. The Sox were down 2-0 just 10 pitches into the game after left gave up back to back solo homeruns to Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista. The Sox got one back in the bottom of the first, but then Lester gave up 5 more runs in the top of the second. The first two innings for Sox starters this season have been a real problem. The offense is left coming back from 4 and 5 run deficits early in the game.

Jon Lester surrendered seven runs in yesterday's start against the Blue Jays.

Jon Lester surrendered seven runs in yesterday’s start against the Blue Jays.

The lineup has been somewhat in a state of flux all season. Shane Victorino missed much of the first month leaving the Sox trying to get creative at the top of the order besides Dustin Pedroia. Will Middlebrooks has been in and out of the lineup with already two DL trips under his belt. This year was supposed to be Middlebrooks make or break season, his third in the big leagues, and so far he has struggled. The Sox even brought back Stephen Drew which Brendan posted about this afternoon. Yesterday’s lineup had A.J. Pierzynski hitting fifth. Pierzynski would not hit fifth on the Minnesota Twins, why is he hitting fifth on the Boston Red Sox? It is obvious the Sox need another bat in this lineup.

The loss of Jacoby Ellsbury has been huge for the Sox yet no one is talking about it. The money he got was crazy but they could have done better to find an ample replacement especially a replacement in the leadoff spot. Center field has not been the best position for the Sox this season. Jackie Bradley Jr., is hovering around the Mendoza line hitting just .201. Grady Sizemore, who had not played a game in over two years, was brought in and has been all over the place in the lineup and on the field maybe he just cannot find his role. The Sox are sticking with Bradley believing he will play out of his funk at the plate but he is leaving runners on base seemingly in every at bat. His defense has been stellar but is that enough?

Xander Bogaerts needs to start hitting towards to the top of the lineup. He has been the Sox hottest hitter, hitting sixth and seventh in the lineup. It is understandable that Farrell wants to lengthen the lineup but why is he not hitting second? Last season Pedroia hit third for much of the year with Ortiz and Napoli behind him. Would a lineup starting with Victorino, Bogaerts, Pedroia, Ortiz, and Napoli solve the offense’s problem with scoring runs? Well it is worth a shot.

John Lackey looks to stop the losing steak tonight against Tampa Bay.

John Lackey looks to stop the losing steak tonight against Tampa Bay.

The panic button has not been pressed yet but this weekend series with Tampa Bay could push it over the edge. Tampa Bay has struggled all season with pitching problems. The Sox are only one game ahead of the Rays in the AL East and a Sox loss would pull them even for last place. John Lackey will be on the mound tonight trying to stop the losing streak opposite Chris Archer. If the Sox have a good weekend in Tampa they should start to climb up the standings as no one has stepped out in the division, but a bad weekend and they will likely continue to trend downward.

Red Sox Defy Logic with Stephen Drew Signing

Red Sox fans got another aggravating season of Stephen Drew

Red Sox fans got another aggravating season of Stephen Drew

Earlier this week the Red Sox revisited the magic of the 2013 season and brought Stephen Drew into the fold (again). Despite all of the positive reviews and public support, there is really not much sense to be had once one takes a closer look at the situation and the numbers. While its true that at this point that the Red Sox can use upgrades wherever they can find them, Drew is not the kind of player who is worth the aggravation, the salary commitment, or the collateral damage his signing will cause.

Starting with the salary commitment on the Red Sox’ part. The team is fortunate in the sense that they can prorate his salary for the season and avoid paying what amounts to the value of the qualifying offer from last season. However, the amount still comes out to a not-insignificant $10.1 million. This is not as big a deal for the Red Sox as it would be to other teams given their vast payroll capabilities, but it is still a figure that could be more efficiently used elsewhere on the roster. That ten million would have been more than enough to sign Nelson Cruz to shore up the outfield and provide the lineup with some much-needed power. Instead, the Red Sox are getting another shortstop to displace the future of the franchise, all for the sake of making a move.

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Red Sox Then & Now: Shortstop Edition

Following their World Series title one of the key questions facing the Boston Red Sox was how would they assemble their infield going into 2014? Xander Bogaerts is an out-of-this-world talent, and he was going to play a significant role on the team regardless, but the question remained whether to resign Stephen Drew, pushing Will Middlebrooks to a bench role, or to let Drew walk into free agency and place their bets with Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. This wise move likely saved the Red Sox a great deal of money and headache, particularly in the long term.

Hopefully we've seen the last of Drew in a Sox uniform

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of Drew in a Sox uniform

No one really knows where Scott Boras came up with his otherworldly demands for Drew, which have been rumored at $13-$15 million a year over a 3-4 year span, which is needless to say, ridiculous for a player of Drew’s ability (or lack thereof). Assuming he got that max contract length from some desperate team and was ready to play by Opening Day, Oliver projects Drew to be worth 5.9 WAR over the next four seasons combined. The free agent market valued a win (1 WAR) at about $6 million this offseason, so using that template Drew would be worth 35.4 million over the life of a four year contract, a rate significantly lower than his reported asking price. Otherwise, 5.9 WAR over a four season span is a far cry from consistent production, and a team like the Red Sox would have little trouble finding similar value from a player who would cost significantly less in salary commitments (even considering their shortstop curse over the last decade). Over that same span, Bogaerts is projected to post 18.3 WAR (worth $109.8 million), while also being a full decade younger than his potential counterpart. There is absolutely no reason for a player like Drew to replace a player like Bogaerts who represents nothing but talent and upside, and will produce significantly more value at a fraction of the cost.

The X-Man is on his way to becoming a Boston icon

The X-Man is on his way to becoming a Boston icon

For the sake of comparison, let’s compare Drew to Middlebrooks’s four year projections, since he is the player who would end up losing significant playing time in the event of a Drew re-signing. Middlebrooks is expected to contribute 8.2 WAR (worth $49.2 million) over the next four seasons; while he doesn’t match Bogaerts’s prolific production, he still represents a clear upgrade over Drew, and will also come at a fraction of the cost as an arbitration-eligible player. In this case re-signing Drew would cost the Red Sox production because it would move a cheaper, superior player to a bench role, while giving an expensive, inferior one an undue amount of playing time.

There is really no logical reason at this point for the Red Sox to re-sign Stephen Drew. There is a reason that Drew finds himself still on the free agent market, and it has less to do with draft pick compensation than one might think.  The demands are exorbitant, and the cost would be unnecessary to take on when there are in-house options available to provide more production at a fraction of the cost. The Red Sox deserve credit for showing faith in their young players and allowing them opportunities to contribute at the big league level, because this strategy affords them the flexibility to use their resources elsewhere. In this particular case, it avoids redundant additions and maintains that flexibility that is crucial to a successful season.

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