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  1. Most “Actual” Red Sox fans know the value that JD brings the team and have not complained about the signing. I like most were skeptical at first, especially after his first year. After proving himself in the playoffs and coming up with many clutch hits and stellar defense, we have realized his value to the team.

    Any Red Sox fan who doesn’t like JD Drew, obviously doesn’t watch any of the games.

    Comment by Derek — October 27, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  2. Good post… check out Alex Speier’s post on WEEI from last week. Speier compares Drew in depth to other free agent outfielders and comes to a similar conclusion. It’s definitely worth a read.

    Comment by Ben — October 27, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  3. I never understood the Drew-hate. Drew is a good player, who is sometimes injured, but valuable when healthy. He makes a large, but not outlandish salary. The Red Sox, even though they like to portray themselves as otherwise, are a very rich team and they can easily afford a $14M/year contract. Easily. Even if they “only” get $12M of production for $14M, that is nothing to the Red Sox.

    Comment by Steve — October 27, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  4. GREAT post on Drew. I think the numbers are what most fans like to ignore. They usually see him sitting out a game or two and think “here we go again.” One of the problems with Drew is that he has been given a skill set that many fans believe could translate into not just All-Star numbers, but HOF numbers if they believe he gave more “effort.” There just aren’t many players out there who make things LOOK so effortless. That effortless athleticism can be confused with laziness.

    He also doesn’t show a great deal of emotion. I think the lack of emotion and effortless athleticism make him seem indifferent when compared to players like Pedroia, who many see as an overachiever. Still the numbers say it all.

    I also want to point out some great Red Sox Memorabilia at my client, Steiner Sports. Sorry for the link on such an awesome blog, but the only way I can read the blog and support the family is to push a little merchandise. Steiner is also an awesome company for Sox stuff.

    Keep up the good work. I love the statistics, and not just the general “feelings” that we see with so many articles!

    Comment by Tom — October 27, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  5. Great post. I for one, at the time of the signing, was very skeptical of Drew’s signing particularly because of his injury history, and because I didn’t know how much of a defensive asset he was. (This was before I had access to his in-depth UZR numbers) Looking back at this contract, this was a good, if not a great signing by Epstein. J.D. Drew has great plate discipline (not just about taking walks), great defensive value, and decent power, as his career ISO of .221 shows. He might only have 60~70 RBI’s a season, but these other undervalued skills make him extremely valuable, and I think the market still hasn’t completely caught up in paying fair price for these skills Drew brings to the table.

    On another note, how many Boras clients have actually outperformed their contracts? When your organization is getting surplus value from a free agent that Scott Boras represents, that’s a pretty good indicator your team is in good hands. Enjoy the show, Red Sox fans.

    Comment by YC — October 27, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  6. Phillies fan here. I dislike Drew even more after reading this.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 27, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  7. Patrick Sullivan at The Baseball Analysts went over J.D. Drew at the beggining of this month with a significantly more positive analysis, concluding with, “Not that any of this will silence Drew’s critics but seriously, by what measure was the Drew signing anything but a great one?”

    I retorted, “By what measure was this anything but the definition of an (slightly above) average free agent signing?” Not sure how much they agreed with my argument.

    Regardless, while I agree that Drew has been strongly underrated by the fans, since he is a very injury-prone athlete, and will be a 34-5 year old outfielder the next two years, how confident are people that he will be equal or better than the last two years of his contract?

    Comment by Toffer Peak — October 27, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  8. He doesn’t smile! He’s not gritty! He seems like he might care about things other than baseball!

    Comment by Xavier — October 27, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

  9. He is still the highest paid player on the Red Sox

    Comment by Andrew — October 27, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  10. The only reason Drew is the highest player on the Sox is because Youk Pedroia and Lester haven’t reacahed free agency.

    People want to complain about Drew’s contract should just take a look at Soriano and Carlos Lee.

    Comment by Brendan — October 27, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  11. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of any other large market team he would be the highest player on at $14M a year.

    Comment by Judy — October 27, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  12. I refuse to buy into any statistic that values players at more than $40 mil/yr.

    Comment by RonYunt — October 27, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  13. As a Cardinals fan, Drew was easily the most frustrating player I remember watching. Always had the talent, never stayed healthy. The difference is that the Red Sox can plug in a good player when he is hurt, the Cardinals could never match his production when he was out.

    Comment by theWizard — October 27, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  14. sure, but he’s not the most expensive.

    that would be “Dice-K”, a player much more worthy of RSN’s scorn.

    sorry, i forgot, the posting fee doesn’t count.

    Comment by Steve — October 27, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

  15. Except that the statistic here doesn’t value Drew at anywhere close to $40 mil/yr.

    Comment by Big Oil — October 27, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  16. Agreed. Good thing Jack Moore was referring to Drew’s combined 2008-2009 value, isn’t it?

    Comment by BIP — October 27, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  17. Got ya.

    Comment by Big Oil — October 27, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

  18. Your article raises an interesting question: Does a player like Drew, who will not play hurt, help his team by sitting when he is in less that optimal playing shape? If there is a capable replacement like Baldelli available for to cover Drew’s bad back (shoulder, hamstring, etc.) days, maybe so. On the other side, you have a player like Utley, who stoically hangs in through injuries to his hip last year, and whatever is messing up his throwing now. He hurts his stats, and I suppose he would be hurting his team by playing, if there were anyone better on the roster than a diminshed Utley.

    Comment by Chris — October 27, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  19. I think most teams generally have a pretty decent 4th OFer compared to their backup middle infielder.

    Comment by Judy — October 27, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  20. great post. I have always respected JD Drew. If Boston fans are complaining about him then it just shows they are spoiled! great is not great enough

    Comment by PhD Brian — October 27, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

  21. quick question: why does everyone in this thread speak of Rocco Baldelli as if he was good this year?

    not trying to be snarky, just wondering what i am missing.

    of course there are worse 4th OFers, but everyone keeps saying it’s “ok” of Drew sits out a few games, b/c they had a guy with a .311 OBP ready to fill in.

    Comment by Steve — October 27, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  22. So, JD will not play hurt? Are you saying he should play hurt so he gets more hurt? Really, that’s what often happens when a player takes the field while already injured. Should he miss 10 days, or is it better for him to go down for 4 months? Maybe just consider he KNOWS when he should play, and when he shouldn’t. As a Sox fan, I’m happy with his play. I wish he didn’t get hurt, ever, because his absence is felt. His replacements aren’t as good. I’ll take him for 2/3 a season if that’s all he can give.

    Comment by jirish — October 27, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  23. of course, if you know he’s only going to play 2/3 of a season, aren’t you really paying him $21M/year?

    Comment by Steve — October 27, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  24. Yet another instance where the first year makes or breaks the signing in the eye of the public fueled by the media. I assume we will see a lot of sabathia was a great signing articles soon.

    What hurts Drew is that thanks to the incessant pushing of ops people still undervalue the walk relative to power and defense is still lost on the mainstream.

    It would be nice if everyone understood how good he was so they would realize missing some games is irrelevant to him being “worth it.”

    Comment by walkoffblast — October 28, 2009 @ 12:12 am

  25. Re Sabathia:

    Uh, how was he not a good signing, or at least one of fair value? Since 2006 he’s put up WAR production worth $20mill, $28.9mill, $33.9mill, and $27mill this year with the Yankees. He was paid $15mill this year and will make $24.26mill each year after. It certainly isn’t unreasonable to expect $25mill in production from him each year for the rest of his contract.

    This is the problem with free agents and why fans moan so much about how much they get paid; it’s really hard to seriously underpay a player.

    Comment by Andrew — October 28, 2009 @ 2:01 am

  26. My point is if someone signs a 7-year deal, especially a pitcher, you have no idea if it was worth it (ie a good deal) after only one year.

    Your past WAR argument may have been used on santana heading into his mets contract after one year. He was worth 12.4 this year, his second. Are you still sure thats the best way to evaluate something like that?

    Don’t forget we are only two years from CC leveraging his opt-out clause for more money. Or maybe the yankees will take an Arod-like hard stance with him over it.

    Comment by walkoffblast — October 28, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

  27. The Santana comparison doesn’t really apply. He had bone spurs and was shut down early. Also the Yankees and Sox didn’t sign him because he had stopped throwing his slider, and looked to be heading towards elbow problems. Their scouting turned out to be right.

    The only real danger with CC is his girth, but I think the Yankee trainers can him help get that down.

    Comment by Andrew — October 29, 2009 @ 1:16 am

  28. Check the mini shit-fit I just threw on this topic on The Bleacher Report:

    God I love this site.

    There’s a lot of smart Red Sox fans thanks to Theo discipleship, but since the fanbase is so big, we’re plagued with idiots as well.

    And like I said on there already, dividing salaries by WAR, Drew was worth more per dollar than Ichiro Suzuki. It’s another stupid case of Ichiro’s skill set being more aesthetically pleasing, therefore he’s a king. Drew walks too much, so he’s an asshole who doesn’t drive in runs. It’s truly maddening nonsense.

    Comment by Joe R — October 30, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  29. The problem with Drew is that he is not a pyschopath like youk or 5’6 like lil’ Dusty, so he doesn’t get described as “gritty”, “scrappy”, or a “gamer” therefore Sox fans don’t like him as much. He is a reserved guy and shouldn’t be punished for that, he is still one of their best players. The Michael Young comp is interesting. Except someone has to play those 1600 ABs and that probably drags the value down significantly.

    Comment by John — October 31, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  30. Even if those 1600 ABs are taken by replacement players (which, with the Red Sox, they usually aren’t), that’s still better.

    Comment by Jack Moore — October 31, 2009 @ 7:41 pm

  31. Jack, thank you for this.

    There is no player in MLB right now that I find myself so angrily defending as J.D. Drew. Red Sox fans and the media make up so much crap about this guy. His whole career, he’s pretty much dusted off endless character assassination, and criticisms about his skill set.

    He produced more wins per dollar than Ichiro last season according to WAR, but of course, Ichiro is a base stealing, infield singling scrapper, while Drew walks a lot, so he gets bashed.

    Never mind Drew has scored a run in nearly 16% of his PA’s with the Red Sox, way ahead of media darling Jacoby Ellsbury, and ahead of Ichiro and Jeter in that time frame. How’s that not valuable?

    Essentially, a few more seasons of goodness and JD Drew *SHOULD* have a Hall of Fame case. He’ll never come close, though, he’s not “gamey” enough. Whatever the fuck that means, mind my language.

    Comment by Joe R — October 31, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  32. No, his paychecks add up to $14M no matter how many games he plays, exactly the same way all the other players’ paychecks add up to what’s required by their contracts no matter how many games they play. If he was someone who was expected to average 150+ games a year, he could easily have gotten a free agent contract a lot closer to $21M a year and probably for more years.

    Comment by Judy — November 1, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  33. There are still 6 years left on that contract (assuming he doesn’t opt out), he could very well have an off year or two or he could suffer a major injury, we don’t know. And that not knowing is exactly why you can’t accurately forecast whether or not it was a good signing right now. Based on past performance, it certainly is a fair contract but it is impossible to lock Sabathia into that set WAR value for the next six years without a shadow of doubt

    Comment by nick — November 1, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  34. It’s kind of funny how people get so riled up about a player who never appears to get riled up at all.

    Comment by Judy — November 1, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  35. Haha
    But I think it’s because Drew is the epitome of the new school kind of player that the old school hates. He doesn’t nothing great, but everything good. He’s calm, not fiery. He doesn’t play through pain (which given how he performs when healthy is probably smart of him). His biggest crime though is looking like a person who drives in runs, when his skill set fosters more to scoring runs.

    Of course, Philly, St. Louis, and LA all hate JD Drew, but, ya know, at least they have reasons for it.

    Comment by Joe R — November 2, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  36. Not to mention Dice-K is far, far more annoying.
    Remember the mini fit he was throwing when he struggled in early 2009 because the Red Sox tried to curb his side sessions?

    The whole “well it worked” in Japan argument doesn’t hold water when Tony Batista goes across the pond to become a star. MLB is a whole different animal, and in MLB, when you post 5 BB/9 rates, eventually you will be crushed.

    Comment by Joe R — November 2, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  37. You are straight up off your rocker if you think Drew will have a HOF case. “J.D. Drew” and “Hall of Fame” should never be uttered together. Ugh. I think that when J.D. is injured and needs a sub it most certainly does bring down the value. Who do you think is coming off the bench? Its not an all-star team. This year it was Baldelli who took over much of the time, hitting .253/.311/.433. So obviously it hurts when Drew sits and you can’t discount that. Yeah he’d be great if he played 150+ games but that doesn’t happen.

    Comment by John — November 2, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  38. Off my rocker?
    With a good amount of his career to go, he currently ranks 137th in wRAA among OF’s with at least 5000 PA. He’ll crack the top 100 if not in 2010, by 2011.

    His translated batting stats defined here have him as a .285/.400/.503 player, and a .305 EqA, which is really good. Compare to current Hall of Fame lock Ichiro and his .348/.399/.446 and .298 projected EqA. After this season, Drew has a WARP-3 of 43.7 and has been right around 4.0 WARP-3 per season. His most similar batter through age 32 is David Justice, so let’s say he, like Justice, winds down his last 5 seasons with 10.3 more of WARP-3, giving Drew a career tally of 54.

    So let’s go back to the recent HoF inductees (as players) and their respective WARP-3 scores:

    Joe Gordon: 71.1
    Rickey Henderson: 133.5
    Jim Rice: 43.0
    Goose Gossage: 60.9
    Tony Gwynn: 84.8
    Cal Ripken Jr.: 110.2
    Wade Boggs: 92.9
    Ryne Sandberg: 76.2

    So yes, Drew likely will not stack up overall. But the Hall of Fame has already established that the standard is low enough for Jim Rice, Ralph Kiner (50.4 WARP-3), and Lou Brock (48.1 WARP-3). And Drew will conclude his career to be at least as valuable as those guys.

    Comment by Joe R — November 2, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  39. You dont get into the Hall of Fame for being one of the best 20 players at your position in a given tie period. Seriously how many outfielders from the last decade are better than Drew? There are a ton. Doesn’t have the numbers, won’t have the numbers. He basically doesn’t play baseball enough to warrant ANY discussion about the HOF.

    Comment by John — November 2, 2009 @ 11:07 pm

  40. W/regards to Baldelli’s numbers this year: SSS.

    Everyone is focused on Baldelli’s skill set. The real issue isnt Baldelli though – the point is they can afford a good 4th OF.

    Comment by alskor — November 2, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  41. Yes, J.D. Drew (5,321 career PA’s) doesn’t play enough. He should be more like Roy Campanella (4,816 PA’s), or Frank Chance (5,099 PA’s), or Chick Hafey (5,113 PA’s).

    And how many OF’s have been better in the “given time period”, whatever that is?

    OPS+ rankings for OF, 2000-09, min 3000 PA:

    B. Bonds: 221
    M. Ramirez: 160
    V. Guerrero: 146
    S. Sosa: 142
    J. Edmonds: 140
    G. Sheffield: 140
    B. Giles: 136
    M. Holliday: 133
    M. Ordonez: 132
    B. Abreu: 132
    A. Dunn: 131
    J. Drew: 131

    So he’s been very close to the top 10 offensive OF’s in the last decade. In front of him are mostly sub par to terrible fielders (and the unbelievably underrated Jim Edmonds).

    Drew having a Hall case may be an exaggeration, but what numbers does he NOT have? Maybe he should just hack more and play hurt so he can run himself down like Soriano did in 2009. That’s better.

    Comment by Joe R — November 3, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  42. Would YOU vote J.D. Drew into the hall of fame? I mean c’mon forget the numbers for a minute, were all baseball fans here and I know as well as you do that J.D. is simply not a HOFer. The guy has played the equivalent of like 8 seasons when you take his injuries into account. He has had 100 runs 1 time, 100 RBI one time. How many hall of famers do you know with those types of numbers. His rate stats are good but who cares? He doesn’t play enough to make them matter. If he is your definition of a Hall of Famer, then that is a very liberal definition, an absurd one actually.

    Comment by John — November 4, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  43. He’s just a lot better than you and a lot of people give him credit for. At the worst, he justifies his free agent contract and I’ve been very happy that he’s on my team the past 2 years.

    HoF was probably a bridge too far, but I will say that I’d rather go into a season w/ 9 J.D. Drew’s over 9 Jim Rice’s

    Comment by Joe R — November 4, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  44. But, if you really had 9 JD Drews, you’d need a lot more than 9 of them. Okay, couldn’t resist.

    Seriously, I think that many players, when they do play hurt, typically play worse than their own healthier backups would have played, and they also often hurt themselves worse than they were originally hurt, requiring giving even more playing time to more backups. I really do prefer players who admit when they’re hurt and who are willing to take some time off to heal. Baseball isn’t football.

    Comment by Judy — November 4, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  45. Thank you.
    Football’s skills draw from a lot more primal instincts, like toughness and endurance. Playing through pain fosters to that.

    Baseball? Baseball is far more dependent on skill. The slightest problem can cause significant erosion in skills. If your back hurts, you’re better off sitting out 2 games instead of feebly going 0 for 8.

    Comment by Joe R — November 4, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

  46. John, you are saying forget the numbers, then mentioning numbers yourself. I think that PA is a pretty good example of playing time, or how about innings in the field? He seems to have more than some hall of famers I would guess. His stats are just as good as some. He contributes to his team winning. I personally think that the hall of fame’s selection criteria is lacking, but he is quite the good ball player and better than many hall of famers.

    Comment by Justin Mosovsky — July 15, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  47. I’m sorry to rain on the JD Drew praise parade but he is the most overrated player in baseball, period.

    In his 4 years with Boston he has never, not once, driven in 70 runs. That is a pathetic truth that is only more pathetic when you realize he is always batting in the heart of a lineup that constantly has men on base. He is awful in the clutch, just awful, and I watch all of the Sox games. Just because he hit one grand slam in the playoffs doesn’t erase 4 years od futility.

    His problem is that he watches sooooo many 3rd strikes in situations that scream DO NOT WATCH A 3RD STRIKE! He rarely moves runners over and he is the king of the solo home run, not that he hits many of those for a rightfielder.

    Your system may work overall, but in the case of JD Drew, your system stinks. He does not result in net wins for the Sox. Put an average outfielder in right for Boston, and bat him in the heart of the lineup, and you’ll get 100 rbi per year.

    Comment by Reality — September 5, 2010 @ 3:21 pm

  48. Compare Julie Drew to a guy like Johnny Damon, who the Red Sox thought was done before they signed Drew.

    In the last 4 years Damon has scored more runs than Drew, driven in more runs than Drew, stolen way more bases than Drew, and hit for better average than Drew by a long ways.

    There is no way you can put together enough cute numbers to make the case that Drew has even been better than Johnny Damon at the end of his career.

    Comment by Reality — September 5, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

  49. Really Reality? You actually would of rather had Johnny Damon play for the Red Sox than J.D. Drew? Even though J.D. Drew had a higher OBP and OPS, more HRs, and was significantly better defensively? Ah but of course, Johnny Damon was also one of the “idiots”, right? A dirt dog, and all that? Because, you know, those are the *intangibles* that are really the most important when it comes to composing a winning baseball team. Those immeasurable qualities a player must possess in order to be a winner.

    If you couldn’t already tell, I could not disagree more with your statement that he is the “most overrated player in baseball, period.” If anything, I think he is very underrated, which I believe most of these posters would agree with. As someone said above, his skill set is not cater to driving in runs, but scoring them, which is actually the goal in baseball, I’m not sure you know. I wish I could find the actual numbers, but I believe that on a rate basis, J.D. Drew is only behind ARod and Manny this decade in scoring runs (If someone could find the actual numbers it would be great). He can do everything on a baseball field well, and in the small stretches that he gets hot, he is one of the best players in baseball.

    Oh and by the way please do not use names like “Julie Drew”, it only cheapens your argument and makes you look like a child.

    Comment by Actuality — October 5, 2010 @ 2:54 am

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