The Teams That Could Use Stephen Drew The Most

Agent Scott Boras has a quality starting shortstop on his hands in free agent Stephen Drew.  Drew, 31 in March, bears the stigma of costing a draft pick to sign.  But in 2013 for the Red Sox, he hit .253/.333/.443 in 501 plate appearances and was worth 3.4 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs.  That tied for eighth-best in baseball among shortstops.

If you are a believer in projection systems, Drew will not be a top ten shortstop in 2014.  Using an average of projected 2014 WAR from Steamer, Oliver, and where available, ZiPS (all from FanGraphs), Drew ranks 23rd among starting shortstops with 2.0.  Starlin Castro and Jose Iglesias rank below Drew, but they are close enough that he wouldn't be a clear upgrade.  We're left with six starting shortstops on whom Drew would be an upgrade, based on these projections: Jonathan Villar of the Astros, Derek Jeter of the Yankees, Ruben Tejada of the Mets, Pedro Florimon of the Twins, Alcides Escobar of the Royals, and Adeiny Hechavarria of the Marlins.  Let's look at each situation individually.

  • Astros: The Astros want to see what Villar, 23 in May, can do over the course of a full season.  The Astros viewed the outfield as a place to potentially add a hitter, so they acquired Dexter Fowler in December.  They also picked up first baseman/left fielder Jesus Guzman in another trade that month.  For the Astros to displace Villar and give up the #33 pick in the draft, Drew would have to come at an extreme bargain.  The Astros do not look like a fit, even if Drew would give them an extra win in 2014.
  • Yankees: GM Brian Cashman told Peter Gammons in late December his team won't be signing Drew, which is a fairly rare comment on a specific free agent.  Drew would only cost the #53 pick in the draft.  But even if it makes some sense in a spreadsheet, adding him as insurance for Jeter could be controversial.  Plus, the Yankees made a large commitment to Jeter and have more pressing needs right now.
  • Mets: One rival GM thinks the Mets are feigning disinterest in Drew, according to Gammons, as he would be an upgrade on Tejada.  Drew makes a ton of sense for the Mets, who would only have to surrender the #82 draft pick.  The Mets are by far the best match for Drew.
  • Twins: The Twins have spent $86.75MM on four free agents so far this winter, with 97% of that going toward pitching.  Their draft pick cost would be #43, and I don't see why they wouldn't give Drew serious consideration.  However, they seem set with Florimon.
  • Royals: The Royals have spent big on free agents Omar Infante and Jason Vargas this winter, but don't seem interested in upgrading on Escobar even if they could afford Drew.
  • Marlins: The Marlins have added four position players through free agency this winter, but they seem set with Hechavarria manning shortstop for years to come.

What about Drew's old team, the Red Sox?  He may have less than 100 big league plate appearances to his name, but 21-year-old phenom Xander Bogaerts projects to be better than Drew in 2014.  Re-signing Drew would mean not receiving a supplemental first round pick for losing him, so there is a cost in that regard.  Drew makes sense if the Red Sox are wary of using Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks as their starters on the left side of the infield, though.

It seems the Mets and Boras will continue to play chicken regarding Drew, but GM Sandy Alderson does have the upper hand in that no other suitor is emerging.  It seems to be the right time for a Mystery Team to step in.  One Hail Mary option for Boras could be to market Drew as a potential second or third baseman in 2014, for teams with entrenched shortstops.  Once again, Boras is tasked with pulling a rabbit out of his hat on a free agent client.  


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98 Comments on "The Teams That Could Use Stephen Drew The Most"


formerdraftpick
1 year 7 months ago

I would have liked to have seen the Pirates as a a potential case scenario.

416jays
1 year 7 months ago

What round? Haha

Todd Smith
1 year 7 months ago

Drew hit .253 with a .777 OPS last year. Jordy Mercer hit .273 with a .772 OPS last year.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Could always move Mercer to 2B. Barmes is terrible.

Matt Bennett
1 year 7 months ago

Neil Walker is at 2B

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Whoops, completely forgot. Disregard that comment then. Maybe they could move Walker to 1B and Mercer to 2B?

They would probably be just better off signing Morales then though.

Mike1L
1 year 7 months ago

The Yankees are guilty of tampering for saying they aren’t in on Drew? Please.

John Donovan
1 year 7 months ago

I am the farthest thing from a Yankees apologist and even I thought that was stretching it.

phillies1102
1 year 7 months ago

Mets have Tejada, Sox have Bogaerts. Simple as that. These two teams should wait until the spring to watch Drew’s market to crumble and then get him for maybe $5 million below market value.

0 teams have a need, and I imagine the Mets wanting to give Tejada a chance in 2014, and if he fails, splurge on the strong 2015 SS class.

Joe Valenti
1 year 7 months ago

I have been saying this for a while. You are the first person I have seen bring up this point. I thought I was alone

Koop87
1 year 7 months ago

Big difference between Drew this year and the class next year is the type of pick the Mets would have to give up. They barely got a protected first rounder this year, and would only have to give up a third for Drew. Next year they’d likely have to give up a first rounder for any of those SS (some of which may get extensions.)

Joe Valenti
1 year 7 months ago

Very good point but I’m wary of Drew because they would be buying high on a guy coming from a hitters environment and a career year. It might be worth giving up a draft pick to have options. There also isn’t a guarantee that all of the FA will be offered QO

AKA_brotherfox
1 year 7 months ago

If any team has reason to be wary of Drew, it’s the Mets. A guy who’ll be 31 at the start of the season who’s coming from Fenway with better-than-average numbers in a walk year. That describes Drew. It also described Jason Bay.

In Drew’s favor, he won’t be near any walls, so there’s less likelihood he’ll be suffering concussions and the dubious ministrations of the Mets medical staff.

Cosmo
1 year 7 months ago

said well..Bay did well in Boston..and then the Mets paid

Joshua Ryan
1 year 7 months ago

Tejada isn’t in the same universe as Bogaerts. Tejada is three years older and has zero above average skills other than contact. His upside is a 2 WAR player at best and given what he’s done since the second half of 2012, that is a longshot.

The only real reason for the Mets not to sign Drew is that they don’t have enough money to do so.

Tommets
1 year 7 months ago

They have the money to do so. It’d be better off to sign Drew because he would cost a 3rd round draft pick whereas next year they are most likely to place better than worst 10 and will have to forfeit a 1st round pick to any free agent given a QO. Also many of the better FA shortstops could be offered an extension. The Mets best bet for SS is to sign Drew for no more than 2/22.

1 year 7 months ago

I doubt many of the FA SS’s would be offered the QO. Those would be massive salary bumps that they’d likely accept.

tsarstruck
1 year 7 months ago

Yes, they most certainly would. Any SS that would be a serious upgrade for the Mets would be worth his current team to take a flyer on a 1 YR/$15MMish contract on the very likely chance of them refusing and receiving a first round pick.

1 year 7 months ago

A lot of that will depend on what happens with Drew and Morales, the two that many people thought made mistakes declining their offers. We’re only 2 years into the QO system and teams/players are still figuring out what it means.

Take Jed Lowrie for example. He’s projected to make 4.8 million this year. Unless he has a huge career year, is he really going to turn down a 10 million dollar raise? Can Oakland really afford a 15 million dollar Jed Lowrie?

tsarstruck
1 year 7 months ago

“Players that would be a serious upgrade for the Mets” and Jed Lowrie are not a set that substantially overlap. He’s a fine player. He’s better than Ruben Tejada, but if you ignore Tejada’s 2013 year (and yes, you obviously shouldn’t) they’re obviously not THAT much of a different player. I can’t imagine that the Mets would want to sign him to a multi-year deal regardless if he didn’t cost a draft pick.

Regardless, I think there’s a moderate chance that he’d get a QO, and a fairly decent chance that he’d turn it down for a lower AAV mutli-year deal.

Joe Valenti
1 year 7 months ago

Personally, I would rather give up a 1st rounder for a good shortstop then a 3rd rounder for a guy who is projected to be in the bottom 7 shortstops in the league. Drew might be an upgrade from Tejada but I don’t think he is a $15-20M upgrade over Tejada

Joshua Ryan
1 year 7 months ago

Drew is a good shortstop and who/what projected him to be a bottom 7 shortstop?

Joe Valenti
1 year 7 months ago

The article that you just, in theory, read

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Mets have a huge need, Tejada is not a starter and we’d have to give up a 1st rounder for a SS next year. I’d argue that Drew is on a similar level to Lowrie/Hardy too. Hanley will be re-signed(or way out of the Mets price range) and Asdrubal is nothing special.

rwdavis22461
1 year 7 months ago

that is why i would not go for him Like you said the 2015 class has guys like E. Cabbera of Cleveland. as bad as Tejada could be for a team not going far and i am a big Mets fan i would bite the bulliet and stay with Ike and Tejada hoping they can increase their value . Right now Ike has non but if he rebounds somebody may because he is still young and not overly expensive.

bhambravesfan
1 year 7 months ago

Cleveland’s SS is Asdrubel not Evereth

rwdavis22461
1 year 7 months ago

my bad thats who i meant. I rather have Lindor but still

AKA_brotherfox
1 year 7 months ago

As long as we’re getting his name right, let’s go with Cabrera instead of Cabbera.

Cosmo
1 year 7 months ago

right..play hardball..Red Sox have smartened up..hope other teams do the same..prices are TOO DAMN HIGH

Tommets
1 year 7 months ago

No teams are interested in Drew (from recent articles) except for the Mets and Red Sox(barely) and some sources say the Red Sox are fine with Bogaerts and Middlebrooks. Yet, some sources say the Mets are content with Tejada. Of course there are also flip sides so I guess we’ll have to wait and see who signs Drew. And, in any case I’d only take Drew for 2/22 at most.

baycommuter
1 year 7 months ago

What about the A’s? They really need to kick Lowrie over to 2B before his lack of range kills them.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

I think the A’s are a good fit, except they have to give up their 1st rounder. But they liked Drew in the past enough to deal for him. Their budget probably won’t allow this move to happen though.

Matt Galvin
1 year 7 months ago

But didn’t they have him before he went to Red Sox’s?

1 year 7 months ago

That’s a good one.

Ghost
1 year 7 months ago

Tim, wouldn’t tampering involve a player who is under contract to another team? Do you mean collusion? Even then it seems to me it would need to involve multiple teams and owners purposely suppressing a players value. The Cashman comment just appears to be a case of a GM answering a direct question.

1 year 7 months ago

Collusion might be a better word. But when Magic Johnson said “”Though I can’t talk about it, that other guy in New York is going to
get paid. Not by us, but he’s going to get paid,” MLB at least looked into it. A major market team saying they aren’t signing a specific FA does affect his market.

Ã…ndyInSunnyDB
1 year 7 months ago

Cano was under contract at the time. Drew is a free agent. Cashman can talk about any free agent he wants.

Ghost
1 year 7 months ago

Tim, Magic made those comments about Cano pre-FA so I think MLB was right to look into it then. He did not become a FA until after the WS. I agree that Cashman and the Yankees taking themselves out of the bidding for Drew will affect his market I just do not think he or the team tampered or colluded by stating their intent.

1 year 7 months ago

You’re right, thanks. I’ll amend what I wrote.

Ghost
1 year 7 months ago

It does seem pretty rare to flat decline on a player who probably will not be due large dollars. Could be posturing for Mr. Boras????

AKA_brotherfox
1 year 7 months ago

Actually, your first choice of words, “tampering,” was more accurate. Collusion would involve a conspiracy between at least two parties. Unless Cashman were colluding with some other GM to lower Drew’s value on the market (would he conspire to help the Mets get a better deal on Drew?), I can’t see how Cashman’s remarks would amount to collusion.

Lefty_Orioles_Fan
Lefty_Orioles_Fan
1 year 7 months ago

I think Alcides Escobar is just as good, if not better than Stephen Drew.
Also, if the Royals are going to spend money, hopefully it will be on the return of Santana. I hoping Santana feels the same. The have a very good chance of playing some playoff baseball this year!

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Escobar had one of the worst offensive seasons in history I believe in 2013. He’s better defensively, but Drew is obviously the better SS.

arttieTHE1manparty
1 year 7 months ago

LOL…that’s a ridiculous statement: “one of the worst offensive seasons in history”. He hit .234 with 52 RBI, 20 doubles, and 22 stolen bases. Sure, his OPS and OBP were lower than we would have liked, but his glove eats runs, so offense from him is a bonus. He more than makes up for what Drew would add with his bat, and I think Escobar’s bat will come back around. He is a lifetime .258 hitter….

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Escobar hit .234/.259/.300(49 wRC+). I don’t think you understand how horrible that is. That is 26th worst out of all qualifying players in a single season since 1950. Even with his very good baserunning and defense, he only had 1.1 fWAR in 158 games. That’s horrible.

Drew is an above average bat with a good glove as well.

arttieTHE1manparty
1 year 7 months ago

Santana is rumored to be willing to compromise on his asking price if the Royals are interested. Of course, we are also reported to be in on the bidding for Tanaka….

coreybishop
1 year 7 months ago

If I was Scott Boras, I would market Drew as a perfect fit for Atlanta’s 2B option, and drive the Mets to the signing table by getting him before their division rival.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

I doubt Atlanta wants to spend the money and give up the 1st rounder for Drew.

rct
1 year 7 months ago

In addition to what Daniel below said, the Mets aren’t going to be playing for a division title or anything, so I doubt they’d care one way or another if the Braves said they were interested in Drew. It’d be a flimsy tactic that I couldn’t imagine Alderson would fall for.

pft2
1 year 7 months ago

Those projection systems are just regression models which weight the players most recent seasons. Drews projections are held back by his injury which cost him parts of 2 seasons (2011-2012), and hampered his play in 2012, which is why he signed a 1 yr deal as a FA last year hoping to pull a Beltre.

As a Red Sox fan Drew was the best SS of any of the numerous guys they have had at that position in a decade. However, the Dutch Treat is MLB ready, and the Red Sox are close to 189, so unless Drew takes something like a 1 yr 10 million deal, he is not an option.

The Yankees are just being silly. Let Drew play 3B until Jeter gives out, which could be soon , and then move him back to SS when its clear Jeter is done at SS. His bat plays well at that park. The lineup would be a bit too left handed, but if they trade Gardner for pitching they could fill that hole with a RHB.

1 year 7 months ago

I think there’s a case for someone projecting Drew for 2.5 wins or so in 2014 instead of 2.0, if you feel he’s now the picture of health after playing 124 games. That might put him on par with Erick Aybar or Asdrubal Cabrera and the like, but I don’t think it changes the picture of the six teams that would benefit the most from replacing their SS with him.

vtadave
1 year 7 months ago

Whomever down-voted Tim Dierkes – probably not a good idea.

Riaaaaaa
1 year 7 months ago

Yankees have less injury prone options than Drew in Brendan Ryan and Dean Anna. Dean Anna (also a lefty) has played 3 infield positions in AAA while batting .331. I’d rather take my chances with those two than Stephen Drew.

AKA_brotherfox
1 year 7 months ago

If the Yankees trade Gardner, they’d do well to replace him with somebody who profiles with a comparable OBP and speed, otherwise they’ll diminish the value of Ellsbury. Having two similar players in Victorino and Ellsbury gave the Red Sox a more dynamic offense, and it should work similarly for the Yankees with Ellsbury and Gardner.

nomo
1 year 7 months ago

Please take drew off our hands… my guess he gets a 2 year 14 million dollar contract and will be on the dl in June. Drew is overrated and boras is kicking himself for not taking the sox’ offer in November.

westcoastwhitesox
1 year 7 months ago

Great post.

NickinIthaca
1 year 7 months ago

I second this…. I’d much rather read this analysis than read some of the speculation coming from some of the mainstream sports writers. This has much more thought behind it than “XXX team needs this, they should trade for this untouchable player because his name will generate clicks for me.”

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

drew should have taken the offer for 1 year.

pft2
1 year 7 months ago

With JJ Hardy a free agent after next year the Orioles would be smart to trade him and sign Drew at a reduced price given his small market. It would cost them a couple of picks (Drew and what they get for Hardy if he left as a FA) but they would get something in return for Hardy you would think. Of course, if they could resign Hardy at about the same money as Drew then that would be the best option.

Unassisted Triple Play
1 year 7 months ago

I definitely wouldn’t do that. I would look to lock up JJ Hardy long term, his play has been stellar at a premium position.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Twins were my darkhorse, but they don’t want to give up that pick for Drew and they want to give Florimon another shot. Drew’s lack of versatility is definitely working against him, but it’s really the draft pick and price tag that’s killing his market. In theory, a team like the Phillies could sign Drew and put him at 3B, but they seem set with Asche and I don’t think they want to spend any more money. After them, there are no logical fits at 3B either.

2B is where it gets more interesting. The Blue Jays are definitely a fit there. They have a big hole there and are familiar with Drew’s abilities playing against the Red Sox all season. They also have a protected pick and are supposed to be going for it. No indications of them spending money though, as I believe their budget is tight. The White Sox could finally pull the plug on Beckham and put Drew at 2B. They also have a protected pick.

The Cubs could sign Drew and put him at 2B. Alcantara isn’t quite ready, Castro is a question mark and they have a protected pick. If they have a logjam with Baez, Castro, Alcantara, and Drew, they can deal Drew. The Yankees would have made sense at both 2B or 3B, but they already said they aren’t signing him. I don’t see the Braves forfeiting a 1st rounder for Drew, even if Uggla is horrible. Athletics liked Drew in the past and they could put Drew at SS with Lowrie at 2B, but they probably don’t want to forfeit their 1st rounder or spend more money. The Rockies could be a fit for Drew at 2B, and they have a protected pick.

All in all, no team makes as much sense as the Mets.

Steve
1 year 7 months ago

Zero percent chance the Cubs sign him, they have nothing to gain from that

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

As bad as Starlin Castro was last year, he’d still be a way better option than Drew.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Not if he doesn’t bounce back. He was horrible in 2013.

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

I think he should bounceback. He’s still just 23 and his BABIP was about .030 points lower than his career norm.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

His issues stem further than a low BABIP. Everything regressed last year. His power, plate discipline(K/BB), baserunning, and defense. His age is one thing working for him right now.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

Drew is a better option at 2B than anyone else they have, and they could deal him at the deadline or after the season when everyone else is ready. I’m talking 1-2 years max for him. I think it’s a long shot of course.

Steve
1 year 7 months ago

They will stay with Barney until Baez comes up, assuming he moves to second

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

This is probably true. Just trying to throw some “mystery” teams out there. Highly doubt the Cubs would sign Drew.

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

I put more value on a draft pick than I do Drew. I really hope the Astros sign Drew so Boston can get the highest possible draft pick, but it wouldn’t make sense for Houston. Jeff Luhnow knows what he’s doing.

harmony55
1 year 7 months ago

Boston would get only a compensatory sandwich-round draft pick if Houston signed Stephen Drew. Because their first-round pick is protected, the Astros would forfeit only their second-round pick (meaning that the even the Red Sox sandwich-round pick would not move up one notch).

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah I know, they would get the #33 draft pick, it says so in the article.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah so it doesn’t matter what team signs Drew. The Red Sox will get that pick regardless. It might be a higher pick though if a team with an unprotected first round pick signs him though because then they’d lose that pick, and it makes the Red Sox compensatory pick 1 spot higher. Assuming that 1 of these teams listed signs him, the only situation that can occur is if the Royals sign him.

harmony55
1 year 7 months ago

The Red Sox currently would get the No. 33 pick regardless of what team signed Stephen Drew (or the No. 32 pick if a team with an unprotected first-round pick signed Drew because the signing team would forfeit that pick). A Houston signing would not result in “the highest possible draft pick.”

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

I did not know that, thanks for the info.

jakec77
1 year 7 months ago

Not that I am in love with Stephen Drew, but the Mets offseason looks a lot better if Alderson is able to sign him to a below market deal. Is three years at $30 million too much to hope for? It’s not like there is some SS of the future on the horizon in the minors.

Eric Droegemeier
1 year 7 months ago

3 years and 30 million would not be a very good contract.

vtadave
1 year 7 months ago

For who, Drew or the team that gives him 3/30? If he can average 2-2.5 WAR over the course of that deal, it’s a decent contract for the team.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

I would sign up for that in a heartbeat. That’s only $10M AAV for an above average SS. I expected Drew to get 4/50 or more earlier in the offseason.

Tejada can spare him at SS every now and then against LHP.

Petcopadre
1 year 7 months ago

Hechavarria has much more potential than Drew and is not a reasonable candidate for replacement by Drew. Drew is good but I don’t get all the hoopla about him.

rikersbeard
1 year 7 months ago

The hoopla is that he is a SS that can OPS over .700. That is difficult to find not locked up.

rikersbeard
1 year 7 months ago

What about Drew at 2B? Some other teams out their (e.g. Tor, Atl) could use 2B upgrades.

BlueJayMatt
1 year 7 months ago

I was thinking this exact thing.

If Toronto sign him on a one year deal then he moves to 2B and provides cover at SS – very useful for Toronto.

Toronto also give up their second round pick (maybe 45th or so) bu then have a chance of getting a supplemental round pick next year (maybe 34th or so).

tsarstruck
1 year 7 months ago

Totally reasonable that Drew signs a one year contract to play out of position and decrease his value.

tsarstruck
1 year 7 months ago

Drew’s a good hitting shortstop. He’d be a completely average second baseman. I have a hard time believing that too many teams are looking to spend 3/$33MM and a draft pick to get a second basement who will hit around ~105wrC next year. If so, the Mets have a second baseman that’ll only cost $5MM with another year of team control they’d be interested in trading you.

GrilledCheese39
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah.. Why would you need a second basement for 33 million when you already have 1 basement!

tsarstruck
1 year 7 months ago

Ha. The life of being a Mets fan is a lifetime of thinking too much about basements, apparently.

Unassisted Triple Play
1 year 7 months ago

I’m a fan of Stephen Drew although I think his situation of being tied to a draft pick as well as his salary demands are probably affecting his demand.

arttieTHE1manparty
1 year 7 months ago

Defensively, Drew can’t even sniff Alcides Escobar for the Royals, who I think will trend upward offensively again once the pressure to hit near the top of the order is taken away right from the outset of the season.

CJ
1 year 7 months ago

like Escobar, but your wrong about Drew. He’s better than Escobar, by far. Get a clue b4 you make those statements. Escobar is a glove and a below average hitter. Dime a dozen.

Daniel
1 year 7 months ago

He was abysmal in 2013 offensively. 51% worse than the league average hitter.

arttieTHE1manparty
1 year 7 months ago

lol…you people make me laugh… whatever works for you. As for me, I’ll take a glove, speed, and consistently being on the field every day. Drew only managed to play 124 games, only hit 20 points higher, and had far fewer stolen bases. Plus, his dWAR (for you Sabre-people) was 0.6 with 8 errors in 124 games vs. Escobar’s 1.4 with only 13 errors in 158 games. Call me old school if you want, but I’ll take my chances with a 25 year old glove who plays every day over a 30 year old who is injury prone with lesser defensive skills.

BCleveland3381
1 year 7 months ago

The Mets do make the most sense. Their 1st round pick is protected, the Granderson signing already cost them their 2nd rounder, so Drew would only cost a 3rd round pick. His salary isnt going to be crazy. A 2 year deal with a team or vesting option for a 3rd year would be fine with me.

murphys_ghost
1 year 7 months ago

Makes absolutely no sense to sign him for 10 million per and make him the third highest paid player (tied with BC) on the team in 2014.

Hamstring/concussion/ankle and those are just the three immediate reasons that jump to mind. Jason Bay part deux? No thanks.

This is not Troy Tulowitzki here this is mediocrity and not worth overpaying for.