Wednesday, January 08, 2014

As the Stephen Drew Turns

Today the Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2014 and once that's done the baseball world can get back to the biggest off-season debate - where will Stephen Drew play in 2014?

Jeff Sullivan has a good look at the market for Stephen Drew. The key line is, "It's a small market because [Stephen] Drew isn't needed by any team with real money to spend." YES! YES! A thousand times YES!

Stephen Drew isn't a superstar. He may be a top 10 MLB shortstop but the difference between him and a team's existing option at short is not that great. In the case of Boston - many think (myself included) that Drew at short in 2014 would be a worse solution that having super prospect Xander Bogaerts at short and 25-year old Will Middlebrooks at third. Stephen Drew? DO NOT WANT!

Drew in Boston doesn't make any sense. Bogaerts and Middlebrooks are young, inexpensive and provide a better offensive combination than a Drew / Bogaerts combo. Plus if Drew signs elsewhere the Red Sox get a draft pick! If Drew signs with Boston it will put them over the luxury tax and most likely force them to immediately deal either Ryan Dempster ($13 million) or Jake Peavy ($14 million).

And please spare me the argument that the remaining free agents are getting squeezed by draft pick compensation issues. It is not a flawed system that is preventing Stephen Drew from signing with a team. It is the fact that Stephen Drew is just not that good and he and his agent Scott Boras greatly over-estimated his value. The current system means the Red Sox had to give Drew a qualifying one-year offer of $14.1 million. That was a risk on Boston's part. What if he accepted? Again - the Red Sox would have been immediately forced to deal a Dempster or Peavy to make that work. Instead Drew MIGHT get a 2-year deal worth $16 million. If that comes to pass who is to blame? The system? Or Drew / Boras for passing up a $14 million one year deal?

As far as the other remaining big name free-agents like Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez - each has issues not related to draft pick compensation. Santana and Jiminez have to wait on the Tanaka posting lottery to finalize. Cruz is a PED guy and people are afraid of signing the next Juan Gonzalez. Morales is really just a DH with limited appeal. Cruz, Drew and Morales all should have signed the $14 million qualifying offer.

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