Tag Archives: Stephen Drew

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.

Red Sox Report: Spring Training Week One Headlines

As the full squad workouts are underway at Fenway South, week one of spring training has not produced any huge headlines. As I stated last week Ryan Dempster would likely be moved to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster decided he could not play in 2014. He announced such a decision last Sunday and it is believed the team knew two weeks ago. Dempster will be placed on the restricted list and will not be paid his $13 million salary for this season. Neck issues and wanting to spend time with his family are the reasons for him not playing this season.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

When I think of Dempster, I think of him plunking Alex Rodriguez. His plunking of Alex Rodriguez means so much more now that he is leaving money on the table. Easily Dempster could have taken a stint on the disabled list until he deemed himself good enough to go and collected his salary. He said he has too much respect for the game and his teammates. That is refreshing to here in today’s world where athletes seem to chase the money. Alex Rodriguez will of course not play in 2014 because of suspension.

With Dempster salary off the books, will the Red Sox make any moves? Well one was made yesterday in bringing in left handed pitcher Chris Capuano on a one year deal. Capuano, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, will make $2.25 million (with incentives capable of brining that to $5 million) and fill the role we thought Dempster was going to fill this year. Spot starter in the bullpen, as well as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings. You can never have enough pitching, even with the young pitchers the Red Sox have, Capuano is a good pickup as he is a veteran. A career National League pitcher, Capuano will have to make adjustments against American League lineups, but John Farrell will use him where he can be most successful.



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Capuano’s salary is nothing big, could the Red Sox afford to bring back Stephen Drew? According to Ben Cherington, that is not on the radar right now. He is comfortable with the infielders they have which I love hearing as Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks deserve their chance and not the thought of Stephen Drew coming in, possibly hampering their performance. Don’t get me wrong, Drew is a nice player who helped the Red Sox win a World Series last season, but it is time for the kids to play and hope they collect a draft pick if Drew signs with another team before the June draft. Of course super agent Scott Boras is still holding out for a good deal for Drew but the longer he waits the less likely Drew will get what they expect his proper value.

David Ortiz came to camp on Tuesday will some less than thrilling words about hit haters. All Ortiz wants is another year tacked onto his deal. Ortiz showed up with his agent which may dictate that the team may work something out in the near future. John Henry has said he wants Ortiz to retire in a Red Sox uniform and that will likely happen. Ortiz is in the second year of a two year deal signed last offseason, which many argued why they gave him a two year deal after a 2012 season where he tore his Achilles and was not all that happy with the team. 2013 silenced his critics  but apparently not enough and now he is seeking another contract. All these haters Ortiz describes I don’t know exactly who they are because every media member seems to defend him, but maybe they will help his performance if he is angry. Nomar Garciaparra towards the end of his Red Sox tenure had haters and that lead to him leaving town, let’s hope that is not the case for Ortiz.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

Spring Training games begin next Thursday already with the annual college matchups between Northeastern and Boston College. Friday the Sox take on Ft. Myers neighbors the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are likely to start some of the prospects in those games and get the expected rotation in on the second turn through the rotation, a way of giving them extra rest after a short offseason. Hard to believe spring games are already upon us and with plenty of coverage, Red Sox fans will get to know the players who might have an unexpected impact on this upcoming season.

Red Sox Report: Questions Going Into Spring Training

With many players already at Fenway South prior to Pitchers and Catchers reporting tomorrow, question marks have been raised for the Red Sox going into the season. Coming off a World Series victory teams in the division are ready to play and unseat the champs. Here are five questions and how I see them working out.

Will Koji Uehara struggle after the intense and career high workload of last season?

Can Koji Uehara repeat his 2013 campaign? Unfair to expect

Can Koji Uehara repeat his 2013 campaign? Unfair to expect

There will certainly be a drop off but how much of one? Great closers blow saves, just like great hitters strike out to end games. Expect the Red Sox to lighten Koji’s workload early on in the season. No need for four or five out saves with the experienced Edward Mujica in the mix as well as Andrew Miller back in the fold. Those two will certainly bring stability to the back end where it seemed Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa got tired in the World Series after a great display in the ALDS against Tampa Bay and ALCS against Detriot. If Koji is 30 out of 35 in save opportunities that is fair to expect in my opinion.

How good will Xander Bogaerts be?

Bogaerts showed what he was capable of in the postseason when he took Will Middlebrooks job from him. Bogaerts has great plate discipline and can take the ball up the middle, no easy feat for just a 21 year old. Bill James projects a 19 home run year with a .357 OBP from Bogaets, obviously he thinks highly of him. Bogaerts went into camp wondering what position he was going to work at and right now it seems just shortstop unless Stephen Drew brings down his price. I would like to see Bogaerts to stay at shortstop and bring stability to a position that has been a revolving door for the last ten years. Bogaerts has Rookie of the Year capability and don’t be surprised if he wins it.

Will an Ortiz contract extension talk become a distraction?

Ortiz has never been one to be quiet about his contact. Some could argue he has been a bargain for the Red Sox as he really is the only premium designated hitter left in the game. Ortiz has never made more than $15 million in a season while seeing John Lackey make more than that in his four years with the Sox. The Red Sox see no incentive in giving Ortiz the extension now because what if he blows out his Achilles again, to be left on the shelf for a while? My bet it will not cause a distraction unless Ortiz makes it one. John Farrell and Ben Cherington handled last year very well but that was when winning was going on. If the team goes through struggles and Ortiz is complaining that is when it becomes a distraction.

Did the Yankees do enough to catch up with the Red Sox?

The last time the Red Sox won a World Series the Yankees went out and got Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett and won a World Series themselves. This winter the Yankees definitely loaded up with the help of Alex Rodriguez’s season long suspension taking his expensive salary off the books. The Yankees added outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, catcher Brian McCann, and Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Those moves look great on paper but they still have their question marks. Can David Robertson close? Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson starting at second and third, really? And will Derek Jeter be an effective player in his last year? No question the Yankees will be in the mix for a playoff spot when it comes down to it but I like the Red Sox chances a bit more.

Will a starting pitcher be dealt?

The Sox would be wise to hold onto their surplus of starters.

The Sox would be wise to hold onto their surplus of starters.

Free agency for pitchers has not been all that kind this off-season. Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, two of the top names in this winter’s free agent class are still looking for homes with pitchers and catchers reporting for many teams tomorrow. They both are linked to draft pick compensation which has hindered their value on the open market as teams don’t want to surrender a pick as well as pay a premium price. The Red Sox have been waiting for those two to drop off the free agent market so teams will come calling about their surplus of starters. With Lester, Buchholz, and Doubront seemingly off the table, teams could have John Lackey, Jake Peavy, or Ryan Dempster for a fair price. Peavy and Dempster both have been effective in the National League so a NL team coming calling wouldn’t be a surprise. Lackey is affordable, as next year he is only making the veterans minimum so he might be able to bring back more in return but why trade an affordable asset? With depth in the minors with Brandon Workman and Allen Webster pretty much ready for the majors the depth is further than just the major league roster. My bet is that all these pitchers are with the team until May with Dempster moving to the bullpen. If no injuries happen to the Sox rotation other teams with certainly have their share of some and will come calling.

Spring Training is a great time of year, the north is reminded that spring is near and baseball is coming. The Red Sox won the World Series last year and with expectations raised the team will be ready to battle for another AL East crown with the hopes of being the first team to repeat since the 1999/2000 Yankees. The Sox had a relatively quiet off-season but with many younger players ready to contribute Ben Cherington decided to keep onto these assets and possibly use them should a need arise during the season. Hard to argue with that decision.

Red Sox Report: Cherington Sticking To Plan This Winter

The Red Sox surprised many people last year winning the World Series. Many fans had low expectations going into spring training last year. It was supposed to be a year when the Red Sox got back on the map and if they reached the playoffs that would have been seen as an accomplishment. Of course the season went far better than expected and the moves Ben Cherington made really paid off. Short term deals with escalated money didn’t ruin the Sox plan for the future with many prospects expected to be ready to come up when that money comes off the books.

Ben Cherinton has stuck to the plan this winter and not many people can disagree.

Ben Cherinton has stuck to the plan this winter and not many people can disagree.

This winter has been much quieter than last winter for the Red Sox, while they have not overreacted to moves made in the division. The Yankees of course went over the luxury tax, which they were thought to be trying to avoid. This year they got the prize of the winter in Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka, signing him to a 7 year deal worth $155MM in addition to a $20MM posting fee for him leaving his team in Japan. In the past the Red Sox would overreact to moves made by the Yankees. Some come to mind would be Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and even John Lackey although this past year that deal worked out for them. The Yankees have loaded up this winter with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran all in the fold. Also the returns of Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira from injury should help a Yankees team that finished tied for third in the division last season.  Of course the Yankees still have problems with the bullpen, third base, and second base.

When Ben Cherington was hired he made trades for Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon that failed miserably and both are no longer with the team. I felt those moves were forced and he did not stay the course of trying to add bullpen pieces. This offseason the Sox added Edward Mujica who will provide insurance if Koji Uehara is not as dominant as last season and fans have to expect some regression.  Last year Stephen Drew was added as the team truly did not expect Jose Iglesias to hit. Iglesias later became expendable with the emergence of Xander Bogaerts, as the Sox were able to add Jake Peavy via trade for pitching depth down the stretch.

Now the Sox have six and some could argue seven capable starters. The pitching market is still not fully developed with the rumor of Matt Garza heading to the Brewers. Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are still available and teams might come to the Red Sox for a trade of either Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster or John Lackey. If Felix Doubront comes into spring training healthy and in shape, there is no way he does not get a spot in the rotation. Doubront was huge for the team in the World Series and deserves a rotation spot. Dempster has experience in the bullpen so he seems likely to be the odd man out, as Peavy has never pitched out of the bullpen before. That is of course if they keep all the starters for the beginning of the season. Lester, Buchholz and Lackey are locks in the rotation so it will be three pitchers battling for two spots. Brandon Workman who was in the rotation until the Peavy trade may start the year in the bullpen or Triple-A Pawtucket as a starter, but he will be a part of the 2014 Red Sox.

The Red Sox are hoping Grady Sizemore can give them something, he has not played since 2011.

The Red Sox are hoping Grady Sizemore can give them something, he has not played since 2011.

Grady Sizemore was added on Wednesday for outfield depth. Jackie Bradley will be the starter in center but the Sizemore deal is a good one, as a plan B if Bradley struggles is necessary. This is of course if Sizemore can stay healthy as he has not played in a game since 2011. A new catcher, some new bullpen pieces, and believing the kids can play up the middle has been the focus of the Red Sox offseason. With nine prospects in the MLB.com Top 100, the Red Sox certainly have a bright future and sticking the plan of keeping those prospects has been a key to this winter and will be beneficial if they need to add a piece in July. Less than a month until spring training and I like the team the way it currently looks.

Red Sox Report: Sox Quiet At Winter Meetings

With the transaction wire more than active last week some expected to annual MLB Winter Meetings to be quiet but some moves went down. The Mariners added Corey Hart and Logan Morrison to hit behind new second baseman Robinson Cano. The Angels, Diamondbacks, and White Sox pulled off a three team trade, which saw Mark Trumbo go to Arizona, Tyler Scaggs and Hector Santiago to the Angles, and Adam Eaton to the Windy City. The Rockie got Brett Anderson from the A’s for a pair of minor league pitchers and Bartolo Colon and the Mets came to an agreement on a two year deal.

Things remained relatively quiet for the Red Sox. Last week with the addition of A.J. Pierzynski the catching situation was taken care of. Edward Mujica addition to the bullpen all but takes away the chance of Andrew Bailey resigning with the Red Sox and along with the early offseason addition of Burke Badenhop, the Red Sox bullpen appears to be set. Matt Thornton is most likely gone after he provided the Red Sox with below average stuff after his acquisition in July and was left off the postseason roster.

Mike Napoli tweeted out this picture of himself, announcing his resigning with the Red Sox on Twitter.

Mike Napoli resigned with the Red Sox last Friday for two years and $16MM per year. This is a raise for Napoli after reaching all his bonuses last season to make $13 million. Napoli again, will be the right handed power bat to protect David Ortiz the Red Sox need. As it stands now Shane Victorino will most likely lead off followed by either Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava in left field.

The Red Sox seem to be confident in Jackie Bradley in center field and I could not be more happier. Not bringing in a premier outfield bat to replace Ellsbury will have the outfielder believing the team believes in him and he will perform. Of course they will need a more than able back up which I feel is still important. The Sox could always slide of Victorino and play Nava in right with Carp in left. Mike Carp has generated some interest in the trade market and who could blame a team for not wanting him? He had some big hits for the Red Sox in a small sample size and I hope he is back next near unless they can generate a big return for him.

The Stephen Drew market has not surfaced yet as the Red Sox have given no formal offer to super agent Scott Boras. The Mets are rumored to be interested in a shortstop but certainly not for Drew’s asking price. There is no question Xander Bogaerts will be an everyday player next year whether that is at third or shortstop and Drew is really that factor that changes everything. I don’t think this team needs Stephen Drew. His defense was stellar but he is not worth the money he is seeking. Will Middlebrooks had a horrible sophomore season and he knows it. I feel he can bounce back his third year and be something like his rookie year, if he puts in the work. Brock Holt is still on the roster and could be a backup at both positions. The  Sox might want to get a more qualified backup at those infield spots as well.

Stephen Drew is still a free agent and Scott Boras expects there to be a market for him.

Stephen Drew is still a free agent and Scott Boras expects there to be a market for him.

The Red Sox might go through the winter with the pitching depth they have and see how the roster turns out in spring training. Injuries do happen in the spring and teams might seek an experienced starter like the Red Sox have in Peavy, Dempster or Lackey. I think holding onto the pitching depth is a smart plan right now, as you can never have enough pitching and there is no need to make a trade just because you have too many of one position. Remember the Bronson Arroyo trade? Things have been quiet for the Sox in the past week but rumors will continue to swirl throughout the offseason.

Red Sox Report: World Series Champs, Now What?

One week ago Red Sox fans sat at the edge of their seats and saw their team capture the teams third World Series in the past nine years. An incredible feat considering the difficult season the Red Sox had last season, which lost many fans interest. The goal of last off-season was to get a team assembled that will no only win on the field but win in the locker room.

David Ortiz stopped by David Letterman this Monday after shaving his beard for charity.

David Ortiz stopped by David Letterman this Monday after shaving his beard for charity.

As the victory tour continues with David Ortiz going on Letterman and Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino going on Conan, Red Sox fans begin to wonder what this off-season will bring and judging from talk radio everyone seems to have an opinion. Keep Ellsbury, ditch Drew, play Bogaerts everyday are some of the things we have heard so far which everyone is entitled to think. The goal this off-season I think should be the same as last year.  Don’t overspend on years. Last year the longest contract signed was for 3 years to Shane Victorino. Ben Cherington has said already that as much as he liked this years team, expecting the same cast of characters to win the World Series again next year is not something he has in mind.



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Free agents Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will all cash in this off-season and I do not expect the Red Sox to retain all four. If I had to choose one to keep I would keep Napoli, as right handed power to protect David Ortiz will be hard to find and Napoli is a winner.  You brought him in last off-season for that reason so keep him this off-season.  Jacoby Ellsbury will certainly get $100 million on the open market and the Red Sox should not overpay, with Jackie Bradley Jr. almost fully developed.  As much as Ellsbury means to this Red Sox team I believe Cherington will not pull the trigger on a large contract. If he can be retained for 5 years at $100 million I would do it, but he will certainly want Carl Crawford type money and the Sox should not go down that road again.

Last off-season Sox fans may not have been excited with the signings of the likes of Gomes and Victorino and I expect this off-season will be the same.  Gomes and Victorino were critical parts to this years team and those moves turned out right for Cherington. It is rare to hit on all the free agents you sign but last year Ben Cherington did and to expect the same this off-season are expectations that are too high.  He’s been with the Red Sox longer than the owners and the team is now his to complete.  Finding a catcher if Saltalmacchia leaves I feel will be the most crucial move as David Ross cannot be expected to be an everyday catcher.

Jacoby Ellsbury will certainly cash in this off-season but will it be with the Red Sox?

Jacoby Ellsbury will certainly cash in this off-season but will it be with the Red Sox?

Ellsbury can be replaced with Bradley and a free agent on the short term if Bradley struggles.  If Drew leaves Bogaerts can play shortstop and Middlebrooks will start at third.  I believe Napoli will return for a similar contract he originally signed last off-season before the Sox medical staff “found” a hip issue. Of course the Sox could be active on the trade market as well. Buchholz and Middlebrooks I feel could be packaged together for a nice return.  This off-season will definitely be compelling  for the Red Sox and I endorse Ben Cherington and the moves he will make.

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