The Problem With Stephen Drew’s Market

If Stephen Drew were a better player, he’d be in greater demand. I guess you could say that’s the main problem with the free agent’s current market. The better a player is, the more that player is wanted, and I can’t believe this is a sentence I’m writing on FanGraphs. It’s the same with literally everyone. If any given player were better, he’d be in more demand and/or he’d be guaranteed more money. Remember, every player has room for improvement, and baseball is such an easy game! There’s no excuse for not being perfect, really.

Drew’s good, though. Good enough to be wanted by someone. He’s in his 30s, but he’s not old, and he’s a proven, everyday shortstop. He seems to be over his grisly ankle injury, and he was worth 3.4 wins for a World Series champion during a season in which he missed a few weeks. He can hit a little, he can field,and he plays up the middle. Given no other information, you’d figure that sort of player would be pretty appealing. Yet what we observe is that Drew’s market hardly exists. We can never be sure of the inside reality — and we don’t know how this is going to turn out — but for now, it looks more like Drew’s in pursuit of a team, rather than a team is in pursuit of Drew.

It matters, of course, that Drew doesn’t project to be what he just was, in large part because his 2012 can’t be forgotten and his 2012 was lousy. For his career, he’s been a slightly below-average hitter. And while he’s solid in the field, he isn’t outstanding. Drew should be a fine shortstop for 2014. A guy who doesn’t hurt a team. That should get some real attention.

But there’s also the reality of what teams already have in place. I don’t know if this is a golden age of shortstops or something, but there aren’t many teams for which Drew would represent a meaningful improvement. There are a lot of good shortstops out there, there are a lot of young shortstops out there and teams are increasingly appreciating the values of youth and cost control. Even given a talent gap, a team would be reluctant to replace a young shortstop with an older free agent. That team would probably have to be in a certain situation.

The teams most connected to Drew right now are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets. They’re also kind of the only teams connected to Drew at the moment. The Red Sox already had him once, and they’ve already got Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks lined up to occupy the infield’s left side. The Mets, meanwhile, say they’d be content to enter the season starting Ruben Tejada, despite his most recent down season. Tejada just turned 24 in October. But it isn’t just about the players they already have.

Right now, we have the Red Sox projected for baseball’s highest WAR total. They’re projected to win the AL East by a handful of games over a team thinking about trading David Price. The Mets are projected for a higher WAR than the Brewers but a lower WAR than the Cincinnati Reds and San Diego Padres. They’re projected for the National League’s 11th-best record — or fifth-worst record — and though it wouldn’t be like that with Matt Harvey, they don’t get Matt Harvey. Not next year. For the Red Sox, Drew wouldn’t increase their playoff chances very much. For the Mets, Drew wouldn’t increase their playoff chances very much, either. He’d presumably be an improvement on both rosters, but what’s important is the significance.

We’ve written about the win curve, and about how extra wins are worth the most to teams on the playoff bubble. Those are the teams for which short-term overpayments are justifiable, because a win isn’t worth the same money to everyone across the board. If we have an overall average, and an area where we expect overpayments, then there must be corresponding areas where we look for underpayments. If money and demand follow need, then Drew’s in a little trouble.

Because right now a claim can’t be made that a team needs Stephen Drew. He’d help the Red Sox a little, but he’d make a very small impact on their overall chances, so there’s no need to pay much for his services. Drew would help the Mets by maybe a win or two, but that might just help them lock up third place in the NL East, trailing the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in some order. That improvement isn’t valueless, but the Mets needn’t pay market price, since this isn’t supposed to be a championship season. And the difference between Drew and Tejada would presumably be smaller in 2015, when Harvey is expected to return.

What Drew’s market needs, for Drew, is an interested team on the bubble. The New York Yankees have already said no. The Pittsburgh Pirates don’t have the money, so they’ll run with Jordy Mercer. They also wouldn’t want to give up the draft pick. The Kansas City Royals don’t have the money, so they’ll run with Alcides Escobar. They also wouldn’t want to give up the draft pick. The Detroit Tigers appear committed to Jose Iglesias, after waving goodbye to Jhonny Peralta. And the Tigers aren’t really on the bubble anyway. Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz have tiny markets, but at least, for their sakes, they’ve been linked to the Baltimore Orioles and the Seattle Mariners, which are currently in sensitive places. Drew’s market so far seems to be a really good team and a really mediocre team, and both teams could live without him. In theory, neither team would see the sense in getting into a bidding war.

Which means the money probably won’t be there, in a huge sum. It’s not even really because of the draft-pick compensation attached, although that doesn’t help. The Mets would lose just the 82nd pick, and the Red Sox would lose what would be a compensation sandwich pick were Drew to go somewhere else. It’s a small market because Drew isn’t needed by any team with real money to spend.

My preferred wild card would be that Scott Boras contact the Toronto Blue Jays and sell Drew as a second baseman. Drew’s never played second base before, at least a professional, but he has done well at a more difficult and similar position. In theory, it wouldn’t take a lot for him to move to the other side of the bag. The Jays have nothing but Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis at second base right now, and they’re on the playoff bubble, and they’ve got a pair of protected first-round draft picks. At this point, it’s a hypothetical, and it would require that Drew be open-minded. Still, there might be an opportunity to secure a bigger deal, especially if Toronto ends up frustrated by the starting-pitcher market. Drew could make the Blue Jays better by a few games and vault them into wild-card position.

Failing that, in time, Stephen Drew is going to be guaranteed some millions of dollars to work. There are worse realities on the planet, but Drew’s likely to come up short of his hopes. To some extent, a market can be manipulated, but one can’t really be created.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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Dana
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Dana
2 years 5 months ago

Wouldn’t the Red Sox be a team on the playoff cusp? I would imagine any team with real potential, with today’s parity, would be on the playoff cusp. I could easily see 2 wins being the difference between the Red Sox making or not making the playoffs, even with the Yankees issues. I wouldn’t necessarily want him taking at bats away from Boegarts, but with the Sox starting to wild cards on the left side of the infield, and Boegarts versatility, I would think Drew as depth could have alot of value.

psualum
Guest
psualum
2 years 5 months ago

He just said the Red Sox are projected to have the highest WAR in the American League, and the second place team in the AL East is trying to trade its ace pitcher. They aren’t really on the cusp, they look solid (nothing is definite obviously). Also, its tough to clarify what kind of improvement you get from playing Drew at SS over Boegarts, if Xander is ready to breakout it might be a downgrade and Drew could find himself riding the pine come August.

The Stranger
Member
2 years 5 months ago

I’m not convinced that Middlebrooks is any good, even top prospects like Boegarts miss more often than we’d like (or just take an extra year or two to break out), and depth is usually good in any case. And the error bars on these projections are big enough that nobody should be confident that they don’t need a couple extra wins. The Red Sox were supposed to be kind of lousy last year, as I recall – any team in the AL East could put together a similar season and challenge the Red Sox.

Which isn’t to say that the Red Sox should give Drew the deal he wants, but they’re a better team with him, at least in 2014, and being better always has value to a competitive team.

paskins11
Member
paskins11
2 years 5 months ago

Will Middlebrooks first 169 games in majors: 32 HR, 103 RBI. That sort of power is pretty valuable these days.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

hmmm, projected wins are no g’tee of success. It does seem to me that the value of an extra win is a lot higher to the Sox than to the Mets bc they could easily find themselves in a heated race for the ALE. The issue almost has to be length of contract. I’d have to believe that the Sox would be happy to have Drew back on a 1 yr deal possibly even 2 but Drew/Boras almost certainly wants a 3 yr deal considering Drew is 31 now and his market prospects aren’t going to get better in the next couple of yrs.

As said by JS, the marginal win or two to the Mets doesn’t mean much for them to pay market rate so they’d prob be in on Drew should the price per yr come down. WIth little else in way of shortstops in the organization, seems to me that 3 yrs at 8M or even 9M per should be fine for the Mets, but I assume that it’s too early for Boras to drop the price that low yet so it’s a waiting game. Personally, I’m hoping the Mets trade for a young SS (Gregorius) who they’ll have under control longer instead.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

The Red Sox have the highest projected WAR in the league. They’re just as likely to find themselves 10 games up as they are to find themselves in a heated race, which is why the wins aren’t as valuable as you think.

As to WMB and XB being wildcards.. they are. But Drew is a 30+ SS with a pretty consistent injury history the last couple years. The chance of Drew getting hurt/declining/etc isn’t insignificant. His brother went from a 4 WAR player to a -1 WAR in 200 PA player in 2 years, in his early 30s.

The Stranger
Member
2 years 5 months ago

Sure, but if they pay Drew and wind up 10 games up, they’re not going to complain about having him. If they have that kind of year, they’ll probably bring in some extra revenue to offset the higher payroll. They would have a better playoff roster too, which isn’t insignificant. Or if WMB and XB play well and they have a logjam on the left side of the infield, they can flip somebody at the trade deadline. Whereas if they underperform and miss the playoffs, they’ll lose revenue and open themselves up to a lot of second-guessing. I think the marginal value of a win is still there because the cost of having “too many” wins is much smaller than the cost of having too few.

Agreed that Drew isn’t exactly risk-free, but who is? Again, they probably shouldn’t give him what Boras wants, but they should be looking to sign him if the price drops and/or they can get him on a shorter contract. Which is apparently what they’re hoping to do.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

there’s that word “projected” again… as if the Red Sox may not even have to play the season bc they’re such a lock to run away with the ALE. Hysterical.

The Stranger
Member
2 years 5 months ago

Yeah, “projected” is a scary word. The Red Sox (like everybody else) are one bad outfield collision or Tommy John surgery away from needing all the wins they can get. To say nothing of the ordinary risk of general underperformance.

Even if wins are marginally less valuable for a team above the bubble than a team on the bubble, they’re still plenty valuable because they insure against some of those risks or give you more options at the trade deadline. Very different from a team like the Mets who aren’t competing regardless.

NS
Guest
NS
2 years 5 months ago

“hmmm, projected wins are no g’tee of success.”

Fascinating. Tell us more.

bob dole
Guest
bob dole
2 years 5 months ago

I agree that the fact the Red Sox are projected with the highest WAR doesn’t mean they would pass on Drew as an upgrade. The question is whether the money that would go to signing him is better spent on shoring up different spots on their roster.

The fact that they haven’t signed him yet also isn’t indicative of intent — waiting out the market is the right decision whether or not they’re interested in Drew.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

well, NS you’ve really added something to the conversation there, haven’t you….?

Herb
Guest
Herb
2 years 5 months ago

In theory, I’d agree that an incremental couple of wins are more valuable to the Red Sox as insurance. Even though they are projected as runaway winners in the ALE, you never know, and thos extra wins could be the ones that put them over the top.

In looking at how valuable Drew would be, we shouldn’t be looking at WAR. (wins above replacement player) Rather, we should be looking at WAM vs. WAT. (wins above Middlebrooks vs. wins above Tejada) In that measure, Drew would be more valuable to the Mets.

Regarding the Mets, their story is a bit different. Drew certainly mmight not giive the Mets the boost they would need to make the playoffs, although, as I said before, you never know. Wilder things than a team like the Mets becoming contenders have happened in past pennant races. The extra couple of games might just be a difference maker for the Mets too. But maybe more important to the Mets is credibility and fan enthusiasm. Signing another quality free agent would send another strong message to the fan base that the Mets are serious about not punting 2014 despite the loss of Harvey. That could translate into winning back many of the doubters and increasing attendance this year. It could set the stage for a turnaround in revenues and a return to profitability sooner rather than later.

As an aside, I too would love to see the Mets trade for a top notch young shortstop. We need to face the fact, however, that any young, relatively untested, player (spelled p-r-o-s-p-e-c-t) would be riskier than signing Drew. Nevertheless, I’d gladly go down that road, but Gregorius is not the guy I’d want by a long shot. He’s a good glove, light hitting shortstop, and the least desirable of the targets I’d be looking at. I would focus first on Seattle, and try for Brad Miller. If no, Nick Franklin would be an OK second choice. Rebuffed by Seattle, I’d then call on Arizona, but I’d be asking for Owings. If Gregorius was my fall back position, IO don’t think I’d want to give up much to get him.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 5 months ago

While they could certainly try to find improvements, Drew would just be a cost-inefficient way to get them unless his price falls steeply. Drew might offer a 1 WAR improvement over Middlebrooks (who would be the likely odd-man out), optimistically, and cost well over $10m for his first year of a multi-year commitment. On the converse, Middlebrooks might bounce back this year and outperform Drew, who would probably be out of a full-time job in that case if Bogaerts is legit.

McCann was the only FA this year who would have been the obvious improvement. Even if he blocked some guys, the chances of those guys being half as good as McCann were low, and McCann did not sign for a bad price. Overall though, the free agent market hasn’t had a lot of great options for the Red Sox this year. It doesn’t make sense to sign a guy just to sign somebody. If they’re still looking to make a significant improvement, it probably makes more sense to call up the Marlins and see what it would take to replace that OF platoon with a guy named Stanton.

paskins11
Member
paskins11
2 years 5 months ago

So you don’t Ellsbury or Choo “would have been an obvious improvement” over Bradley Jr? Also, I have no idea why some people think LF is a weakness for the Sox, last year they had the 3rd best OPS in the majors.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

A lot of things went right for the Red Sox. No significant injuries to position regulars, almost every player exceeding their projections, a BABIP that was the highest of any team since 1930, etc. Payroll flexibility thanks to the Dodgers that allowed them to acquire Peavy at the deadline after losing Buchholz (imagine if they could have done that in 2011), Koji standing by to take over for Hanrahan.

Zips actually has them losing about 15 WAR by my count due to downgrades and regression. Not sure how Fan Graphs is calculating the WAR, perhaps weighting 2013 more heavily than others.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

Injuries affected Ross, Napoli, Pedroia, Drew, Middlebrooks, Ellsbury, and Victorino. Other than that, their position players were perfectly healthy.

Giraud
Guest
Giraud
2 years 5 months ago

You forgot Papi, Shanf, Iggy. Might as well include pitching with Buccholtz, Hanrahan, Bailey, Miller, Wilson. Not exactly 2011 or 2012, but healthy? OK, healthier.

Preston
Guest
Preston
2 years 5 months ago

I think he ends up with the Yankees depending on what happens with Alex. If he gets 50 games they probably stick with what they have. But if he gets 100 games or more then Drew could play 2b, 3b and depending on Jeter’s health probably plenty of SS.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

The Yankees will probably change their mind after seeing Jeter at SS in spring training. Drew just needs to be patient so teams have a chance to lose the rosy off season projections of what they have at SS.

I also think Oakland could be in on Drew if they move Lowrie to 2B. They seem to like ex Red Sox players and Lowrie is awful defensively at SS.

oleosmirf
Guest
oleosmirf
2 years 5 months ago

The Yankees are not going to move Jeter out of SS even though Drew at SS and Jeter at 3B would be far more productive than Drew at 3B and Jeter at SS.

The Yankees place a higher premium of saying Jeter is the SS than they would on the extra win or two they would add should their defense be better.

Unless Jeter goes to the team and requests a move of SS for the betterment of the team, the idea wont even be touched upon

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 5 months ago

The Cardinals were Drew’s best option, but he gave them a bad number. The Yankees are the only team who might get value out of him over a multi-year, in no small part because the Bronxmen have no alternative in the system so anything above replacement is good. And Jeter may very well be replacement or below when he gets on the field in 2014; if he does.

The problem with Drew getting an offer is that no way can one project him to have a 3.5 WAR season at any time in the next four years. Maybe he does; maybe-probabaly he never puts up value that high, being more in the 1.5-2 WAR range. Drew hits a bit below average; fields OK; plays OK when he’s healthy; has a knack for getting injured, and heals slowly. That’s a guy you sign for 2 X $8M and keep your fingers crossed if you are a contender. That is not a guy _anybody_ signs for 4 X $15M plus a 1st round draft pick. That’s not a guy a non-contender signs under most any circumstance, i.e. it makes no real sense for the Mets to throw money at Drew, he can’t make them better enough to matter.

The biggest problem to me is the draft pick. I don’t see anybody even kicking the tires on Drew unless either a) they have a protected 1st round pick, or b) they have already punted their 1st round pick. Boston wouldn’t be a bad fit in that scenario, except they clearly have negative interest in paying Drew+Boras’s ask; so I don’t see him going back there. That pretty much leaves the Yankees, yeah. Right about Spring Training when they have to actually think about putting a broken Jeter on the field. Or, quite possibly, in May when the pick cost lapses.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

I’d be reluctant to give Drew 3+ years, as I don’t think you can project that many more years of success. He was up and down in 2013, and when he got cold he was frigid as a polar vortex. And I’d be reluctant to give up money AND a draft pick on a one-year deal.

db
Guest
db
2 years 5 months ago

What probably makes sense is for the Mets to give Drew 2 years and a club option for year 3. That way he is locked up for 2015 and can be for 2016, at the marginal expense of 2014. Not sure Drew is prepared to do that just yet.

Dana
Guest
Dana
2 years 5 months ago

I realize what he said, but there is alot of room for error in projected WAR. I do not believe, in this age, that any team is assured a playoff spot, not to mention a team that finished in last place 2 years ago. If a potential playoff team can add the stability and depth that Drew brings at what is almost certainly a bargain price at this point, then they should do it. I am a Red Sox fan, and realize we still need alot to go our way to have a chance to win it again. Maybe if the Sox add Tanaka, but at this point, I could easily see 1 or 2 games being the difference between making and not making the playoffs

Eric R
Guest
Eric R
2 years 5 months ago

I took the projected AL fWAR, added 47.7 wins for projected standings. I think adjusted each randomly by +/- 10 wins [pretty wide error bars?].

I did 2500 of these for three scenarios; here are the percentage of divisional wins and the frequency that they didn’t win the division but had a top 5 record [lets call that likely WC]:

As-is 56% + 21% = 77%

No Drew, but the Rays trade Price and lose two wins:
61% + 17% = 78%

Rays trade Price and the Red Sox sign Drew [calling it +2 wins]:
71% + 15% = 86%

Looks like what the Rays do or don’t do with Price is fairly inconsequential… but if they can expect a 2-win upgrade by signing Drew, that may be worth doing…

Granted, if you said that my error bars are way too wide, then I think it would just decrease the ‘bonus’ for signing Drew. If they are too narrow, then signing Drew just makes more sense.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

Nice analysis, Eric, but will note that also depends on Drew adding two wins above and beyond Bogaerts/Middlebrooks/Herrera. I would have estimated a smaller difference.

The greater impact, from my perspective, is on the depth. If Bogaerts were to get injured, then Herrera becomes a starter. If Middlebrooks were to get injured, then Cecchini is forced into the majors early.

Boris Chinchilla
Guest
Boris Chinchilla
2 years 5 months ago

Call me evil, but I REALLY want some of the QO free agents to regret not accepting the damn $14 million.

Jack
Guest
Jack
2 years 5 months ago

This happened to Varitek in 2009. Rejected something like $10mm and ended up with $5mm with the Red Sox. Also a Boras client

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
2 years 5 months ago

Yup, Drew blew it.

MDL
Member
MDL
2 years 5 months ago

Probably more so Boras.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 5 months ago

Just one year ago, he could only get 1/9.5 with no compensation attached. He had a good season, but he’s the same guy he was last offseason, so he may have made a mistake thinking his value had doubled.

Balthazar
Guest
Balthazar
2 years 5 months ago

Going into 2013, Drew had missed much time in 2012 rehabing a very serious ankle injury, and hadn’t played well or hit much at all when he was on the field. His value was inherently supressed. I was surprised he got $9.5 guaranteed, frankly. And he did because Stephen Drew was a) once a very high draft pick who b) everyone thought was going to be a star. Going into 2013, and then finally hitting free agency going into 2014, Drew has been coasting on that cachet, “Stephen Drew, Star in the Making” and looking for the payout attached to that configuration.

The problem for Stephen Drew is, as said, he’s just not a star. And never will be. And hasn’t had a history of staying on the field. He’s a solid regular who can play better than that in stretches. That’s it. And that is NOT 4 X $15M which Stephen and Scott both think the market will geek for. It’s unlikely that Drew will ever earn $14M in a season, but even so he shouldn’t have taken that because a multi-year deal is far, far more in his interest, as for any player except a guy in their late 30s or needing a pillow contract. Drew is going to have to decide between another 1 year deal, or signing for a couple of years at far lower money. He still gets more than $14 in the latter scenario. But he will have been educated by the market that no, he, Stephen Drew, is not a star in anybody else’s opinion. Just a guy expected to show up and do his job, or hit the road.

The Stranger
Member
2 years 5 months ago

I think him and Morales are regretting it right now. I wonder if the Sox would give him the same offer right now, or if he would take it if they did. Ditto the Mariners and Morales. Probably they both end up with a lower AAV over 2-3 years, just to save face.

Brendan
Guest
Brendan
2 years 5 months ago

Even though it was a good 1 year offer I understand they want more years even at a lower annual value. I really think that the QO system should allow the player multiple contract options. 1, 2, or 3 years — with each additional year being worth something like 75% of the previous years value.

So with a QO being a 1 yr 14 mil contract, the player can choose between a 1yr/14 mil deal. A 2 yr/24.5 mil deal, and a 3 yr/32.4 mil deal.

This prevents someone borderline like Stephen Drew from getting stuck either taking a 1 yr deal, or having to negotiate with teams knowing it will cost them a draft pick to sign him.

I know it’s uncomfortable for the team to not have a say in the length of the contract. But if the team isn’t willing to commit beyond 1 year or offer a 3 yr/32.4 mil deal then the player simply wasn’t a high value asset the team should be compensated for losing. Of course, you can play around with the numbers if you want. 3 years and 75% for each year is what looked right to me though.

Deelron
Member
Deelron
2 years 5 months ago

While this would certainly nice to the player, the point of the QO has nothing to do with the player and everything to do with suppressing the free market value of higher end free agents.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B
2 years 5 months ago

The problem with Stephen Drew’s market is that he wants to play shortstop, and he could sign with 3 or 4 teams instantly if he would play 2B or 3B.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B
2 years 5 months ago

That was not meant to be a reply to you, don’t know what happened there.

Mark
Guest
Mark
2 years 5 months ago

This seems fair. You could also just make the QO a two year deal with the second year being a player option. That would limit the QO to the very best free agents.

stan
Guest
stan
2 years 5 months ago

I don’t necessarily want the players to regret it. I do want them to fire their agents for advising them to reject the offers. Cruz, Morales and Jimenez in particular were just stupid to reject their qualifying offers. There’s no way any of them were going to get big free agent deals. There’s a good argument that Santana wouldn’t either.

I do think there would have been more of a market for Drew. The Cardinals would likely have preferred him to Peralta for the same money.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

I have trouble understanding whats behind this sentiment.

I also wonder if players might consider doing something like faking an injury in the last month of the season in the hopes of avoiding a QO. Unlikely, but any system that provides players an incentive to be worse to get a better contract has to be a bad system.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

Reportedly, the market soured on Drew following his abysmal offensive performance in the playoffs. Perhaps the scouts feel he is close to falling off the career cliff?

If Drew was trying to tank in the hope of a better contract, he badly miscalculated.

jerkstore
Guest
jerkstore
2 years 5 months ago

It has long been my hope that the jays would grab drew to fill second base. Either on a one year overpriced deal or a moderate 3 year deal. If you can sign him as a 2-3 win player that would be a great fit for the jays.

David G
Guest
David G
2 years 5 months ago

Is Drew really a 3 win player at second, though? Or is he more in the range of a 1-2 WAR player there? A lot of his value is tied up in his defense at short.

That Guy
Guest
That Guy
2 years 5 months ago

I would guess he wouldn’t produce at anything like 3 WAR at 2B myself. I wouldn’t project him to be anything but below average defensively at 2B.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 5 months ago

I still have no idea how the Yankees are saying no. Are they expecting something out of A-Rod? Are Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson honestly both going to be regular starters? Is there any logical reason why Jeter should still be playing SS, when he could make a bang-up 3B or DH on most days instead?

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 5 months ago

Also, this was not supposed to be in this location, but on its own top-level comment. Unfortunately, this thing does weird stuff sometimes when you stop a post, then go to the reply thing on the bottom.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Only 5 runs difference in the positional adjustment, and there are better defensive players at SS than 2nd so his UZR could be higher by as much to offset this. Of course, you have better offense at 2B.

But unless a team is close to fully loaded at every position, WAR is probably not a useful stat. The real consideration is how much of an upgrade is there over what you have.

If he is a 2 win upgrade over what you have, 3/30 is still a reasonable deal.

JBVT
Guest
JBVT
2 years 5 months ago

It’s a little strange that he doesn’t have more of a market. I think the QO is really holding teams back from signing players.

If you sort 2013 SS stats (min 400 ABs) and look at WAR, Off and Def, Drew is one of 5 players who is positive in all 3 categories (along with Tulo, Desmond, Peralta and E. Cabrera). From a pure upgrade standpoint he’s clearly one of the better overall SSs in baseball.

Of course there are confounding factors like age, incumbents, $, etc., but it’s still strange that teams aren’t more interested in him. The Indians, Royals, Phillies and Reds are all fringe contenders that could use upgrades at SS.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

also awful platoon splits…

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Fortunately, 70% of his AB comes against the split that he kills

shthar
Guest
shthar
2 years 5 months ago

Unfortunately, he only plays about 70% of those games.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

and injury history.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

One bad ankle injury is an injury history.

TangoAlphaLima
Guest
TangoAlphaLima
2 years 5 months ago

Regarding the Royals, they’re probably over budget already, given the Infante and Vargas signings, along with David Glass’ tight hold on the purse strings. There is zero chance they’ll drop the coin necessary to get Drew.

Regardless, I think there’s some optimism for current Royals SS Alcides Escobar to rebound from an awful 2013 season. Steamer has him at 1.3 WAR, and only projects Drew for 2.0, so it could merely be a modest upgrade, especially considering the price difference. (Note: Oliver is far less kind though, putting Escobar at replacement level.)

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

IIRC, the value of a bottom half of the first round draft pick is something like $12M on average.

It’s hard to come up with a contract for Drew that he feels is fair, that is going to give the team atleast 12M in surplus value.

12M in surplus value isn’t hard to convince yourself of when you’re talking about a 25 year old stud. Its another thing altogether when its a 30+ year old player who is merely good, and has an injury history.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 5 months ago

The estimates for the surplus value of those draft picks that I have seen are lower than $12 million.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
2 years 5 months ago

And even if $12 million is accurate, wouldn’t that value be spread out over 2017-2023, or something in that range for a 2014 draft pick? It’s not nothing, but it’s not a huge factor.

If Drew isn’t going to appreciably help your team, then that’s fine. But if he can help, then I don’t think a late-round 1st rounder should be a reason to avoid him.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 5 months ago

It’s not a reason to avoid him, but it is a reason to lower the value of your offer correspondingly. I’m sure plenty of teams would be willing to lose the pick and offer Drew a multiple-year deal – but these offers would probably be worse than the $14m/1-year deal he just turned down. If Drew just turned down 1/14, would a team waste it’s time offering 2/19 or 3/25?

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

I saw an estimate of $7M surplus value recently for a lower-half first-round pick. Didn’t read the link so can’t comment on the methodology.

Mr Punch
Guest
Mr Punch
2 years 5 months ago

Good analysis of the situation. A team that was interested in Drew could easily persuade itself that he’s actually better than he seems at first glance – he had bad first halves in ’12 and ’13, while injured (concussion/late start in ’13), but his second half last year was strong with both glove and bat. I suspect it’s true that the poor postseason really hurt him. He’s only 31 this year, and he’s MUCH less annoying than his brother.

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 5 months ago

“Because right now a claim can’t be made that a team needs Stephen Drew. He’d help the Red Sox a little, ”

I’d argue that he may not even help the Red Sox a little. If there’s any chance that Bogaerts can play SS, he needs to stay there, and start getting more reps. If there’s any chance that WMB returns to what he was before the wrist injury, he needs reps.

Drew is going to make enough money that teams are going to want him to start, and thats not what the RS need. They need a guy who can back up 2B-SS-3B and not take ABs away from the youngsters unless needed.

There’s also a very real possibility that a healthy WMB is a better player than Drew.

JayT
Guest
JayT
2 years 5 months ago

I think that there’s an even bigger possibility that one of Middlebrooks/Bogaerts is significantly worse than Drew next year.

Even though they are talented and have a good pedigree, I think it’s not terribly unlikely that one of those two puts up a replacement level performance.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
2 years 5 months ago

It’s also not terribly unlikely that Drew puts up a replacement level performance. The advantage to signing him is depth and not much else.

Tom Murphy
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

And Drew isn’t looking to be paid like a reserve.

David
Guest
David
2 years 5 months ago

Drew would also offer the Jays great insurance if Reyes were to get injured. Hell, they could give Reyes some half days at DH in the hopes of reducing the strain on his body to prevent injury.

Shankbone
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Among constantly contending teams the Cards and Red Sox have been excellent at this type of play. The Cards have in the past 4 years let the following guys walk to get draft picks: Mark DeRosa, Joel Pinero, Albert Pujols (220MM was just not enough to feed his family), Darren Oliver, Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse. The Sox have let go of Billy Wagner, Jason Bay, Victor Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Jonathon Papelbon. And here it is, another year, and the Cards get their comp pick for Beltran and most likely the Sox will get one for Drew.

Identifying these guys and making tough choices seems to be a skill set. Both clubs have made 18 top 100 selections (rough guesstimate) in the past 4 years. Beltran at this time in his career is a pretty good bet to let leave, as is Drew, because both clubs have hit on IFA guys who are their replacements. Great draft and development, and it appears these two clubs are correctly hedging in a way to keep their chances up on hitting on the next guys by getting extra shots.

That QO is killing Drew’s value a bunch. He’s this years Kyle Lohse for sure. So Boras is trolling the Mets and they’re trolling him right back. They are a logical place to go though because of the need as well as the CBA adjusted protected pick, they’re just losing a 3rd rounder if they sign him. So its all about driving down the overall years and aav.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

well, the players wanted to be on the free market and that sometimes works both ways. In this particular case, market forces may be working against Drew even if the overall marketplace has been strong for the better players. Once the price drops, someone will rush in to snatch him up. That’s the way markets work.

Fred Hayek
Guest
Fred Hayek
2 years 5 months ago

Free market? Right…

JM Keynes
Guest
JM Keynes
2 years 5 months ago

It isn’t free? Because of the need to give up a draft pick due to the qualifying offer?

Shankbone
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

I’d say his combo of injury history (289 games played in last 3 years), league average-ish stats (definitely good last year but middling the past 2) plus the cost of the pick are definitely the 3 biggest factors. The market forces for MLB FA are pretty unique, and this new CBA has definitely tweaked it further.

JBVT
Guest
JBVT
2 years 5 months ago

The whole injury history thing is lazy. He broke his ankle! He didn’t have multiple soft tissue problems; there really shouldn’t be any lingering or recurring problems.

He’s an all around, slightly above average short stop. The only problems seems to be that he’ll cost a pick and probably wants at least 3 years.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
2 years 5 months ago

I’m pretty sure the Red Sox would have liked to have kept Beltre for what the Rangers are paying him.

Shankbone
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

Rangers have two of the best contracts in baseball riding on their hips: Beltre and Darvish. The lack of competition for either player is kind of crazy in retrospect.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

They chose instead to trade for Adrian Gonzalez. No room on the roster for both, even if they could have found payroll. In retrospect, Beltre has been better than either Gonzalez or Youkilis.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

Counted — each team has made 16 top-100 picks in the last 4 drafts. The ML average would be 13.3, so neither is that far above the norm. Still, your point is made.

The Humber Games
Guest
The Humber Games
2 years 5 months ago

Wouldn’t this analysis not just look for teams on the bubble for 2014, but teams on the bubble for the next couple years? It would seem logical to sign Drew, understanding that it’s a throwaway investment for 2014, but that maybe he does become that win or two that pushes you over the top in 2015 or 2016. With the lack of interest in Drew, maybe you can get him at a bargain for the 2nd or 3rd year of a contract, when (to take the Mets’ example) you have a front end of Harvey/Syndergaard/Wheeler and have maybe added a piece or two on offense.

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
2 years 5 months ago

Who’s going to be on the bubble in 2015 that isn’t in 2014, and for whom Drew would matter? Mets? Twins? The Yankees still make the most sense to me. They’re on the bubble now and need an infielder whether they admit Jeter/A-Rod/Johnson are toast or don’t.

bob dole
Guest
bob dole
2 years 5 months ago

Twins are an interesting suitor if they think they can compete in 2015. Protected 1st round pick, available payroll, fits with their general preference for shorer-term deals.

Jon C
Member
Jon C
2 years 5 months ago

A lot of people are hitting on the point that the Red Sox have the highest projected WAR, and they don’t need Drew because they are likely locked into a playoff spot. I’m not going to argue against the Red Sox likely easily lock in a playoff spot.

What I am going to argue against is this is a reason to not grab Drew. Having Middlebrooks and Boegarts is a reason, however. Back to my point: making the playoff race is only one part of the equation. In a short series, it’s true the better team isn’t guaranteed to win, but you still want to better. Being better won’t guarantee anything but it sure helps mitigate the effects of small sample size somewhat. The Sox aren’t worried so much about making the playoffs; they want another WS trophy.

Mark
Guest
Mark
2 years 5 months ago

I would be thrilled if the Jays could sign Drew.

AK7007
Member
AK7007
2 years 5 months ago

If I had to guess, the reason that they are playing such hardball with Drew has to do with their self-imposed budget and waiting for Tanaka. (the Sox could probably realistically play right up to the luxury tax) They are at $154 million in payroll for 2014, with not much committed beyond. Odds are they are keeping money in reserve to play the Tanaka sweepstakes, but don’t want to give Drew even QO money if Tanaka pushes their payroll up to the $175 million range because then Drew would take them above the luxury tax threshold.

Otherwise, there’s probably nowhere else on the FA market that those dollars would do better good in improving their roster than they would by greatly improving their depth with a Drew signing.

uniqueusername
Member
uniqueusername
2 years 5 months ago

Red Sox Luxary tax..

They were already at a projected 156.75. Then they signed Napoli for 16 AAV, AJP for 8.25 AAV, Mujica for 4.75 AAV So that made 185.75 projected. Then they traded away F. Morales and his 1.75 for Herrera and his projected 1 Mil. Putting them right at 185 projected. So they basically, they can’t afford ANY big contract if they want to stay below the Tax. Or dump off a big AAV pitcher like Dempster/Peavey

Matt
Guest
Matt
2 years 5 months ago

I could see Cleveland signing him then either dumping Asdrubal on someone of moving Asdrubal to 3rd and let Aviles bat vs lefties for Drew. Keep in mind Asdrubal is on the last year of his deal and set to make $10 mil – so a team looking for a 3B may be open to him.

Could probably get Drew for 3/30 at this point – which would be a steal.

Grant
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

I doubt that with Francisco Lindor waiting in the wings.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
2 years 5 months ago

I think he goes back to Boston. They’re the only team who doesn’t have to give up a draft pick to sign him and he’d really solidify the left side of the infield. Pushes Boegarts to 3B and Middlebrooks to the bench until injury or performance dictates otherwise. Makes a lot more sense for a team on top to put the finishing touches on their team than for a team like the Mets to make a moderate upgrade in what will likely be another nondescript year.

And yet I’m a Jays fan, and so while I think it is very unlikely that Drew and Boras bite the bullet and get him to change positions (or that the Jays would get Reyes to change positions, which is really what should happen in that scenario), he would be a very important upgrade to a team in dire need of help up the middle. Anthopoulos did speak earlier in the offseason about getting SS quality defense at 2B, so maybe there is something here after all, but my money is still on the Red Sox bringing him back.

JohnMel
Guest
JohnMel
2 years 5 months ago

If Drew would sign as a 2B and the backup SS as a Jays fan I would like the option. The Jays have a need for a strong performer at 2B. Goins is a nice defensive 2B but he is a better bench guy cause he doesn’t hit much. Izturis was horrible last year and might not be much better then replacement. That being said Drew hasn’t been a lock for a solid player and has some risks. The Jays are looking to avoid risk in 2014.

The bigger issue however is that the Jays do not sign Boras clients.

sandlot terror
Guest
sandlot terror
2 years 5 months ago

I think that the Boras issue is irrelevant. The Jays just haven’t been big free agent participants the last few years. In Drew’s case you’re probably talking about a 1 year contract anyway, unless the Jays decide to break the bank (assuming they’ve signed a free agent starter at this point) and offer him a multi year deal. The best thing the Jays can offer him compared to teams like the Red Sox is a full time starting job which will do more for his future value than anything.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
2 years 5 months ago

I was surprised when Cherry made the qualifying offer to Drew. Did he think Drew was worth the one year 14 mil if it came to that, or was he playing Boras’s ego against himself to get a pick or sign Drew for much less? There was never a question in my mind that Drew should have jumped at the QO.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

You would take 14 million for 1 yr with a team that had youth breathing down your neck rather than 3/35? Did anyone think Drew would have trouble landing that when the steroid cheat Peralta gets 4/53? Maybe Drew should have been visiting Bosch at Biogenesis too.

I still think Drew will do ok in the end, even if he has to wait till June 15. If he does take a pillow contract it should be in a park that matches his bat and where he does not have to worry about losing his job when he slumps or has a DL stint.

showizard
Guest
showizard
2 years 5 months ago

Realizing this is a completely invalid way to project Drew, but if you take out Drew’s numbers from the first 40 games of 2012 with Arizona, then he actually projects virtually exactly to his 2013 line over 500 PA.

I’m getting 514 PA, .253/.328/.426 .754 OPS, 28 DB, 7 TP, 13 HR, 53 BB, 123 K, 105 OPS+

No aging curve in that though.

I figure if he’s now worse than a league avg defender then you have to figure something like

2.5
2.0
1.5

Rr 6 WAR as a worst case scenario over the next 3 years. I think his true market value is about 3/30, give or take. He’s not a risk on a 3 year deal, and the money is about right.

TF
Guest
TF
2 years 5 months ago

His 2013 line was also dinged by a poor performance at the start of the season, as he rushed back from the concussion. He hit better from May onward (at least until the playoffs).

john
Guest
john
2 years 5 months ago

I don’t want the Red Sox to sign Drew at all. Middlebrooks and Bogaerts are both projected to be better than Drew next year. So, for the Red Sox to sign him, it would be making the team worse, and giving up the sandwich pick you would get for letting him go.

Jerry Grote
Guest
Jerry Grote
2 years 5 months ago

I’m sorry … you cant’ tell me that Drew is only a marginal pickup over Ruben Tejada.

Tejada’ best isn’t equal to Drew’s worst. And although youth accounts for something, at this point Tejada is approaching 3500 professional appearances. He is what he is: a sub-par defender that struggles to not be a pitcher with a bat.

Meanwhile you have a professional ball player, that makes every play up the middle and showing the capacity to solidify the Mets defense for the next two years. And a potential plus bat for the position.

On top of that, the Mets have absolutely NO ONE in the funnel and no stomach to pay for the host of free agents next year.

Drew is a substantially better player that Tejada but as important is that he’ll be better than anyone they bring up until 2016. Not signing him for two years … I don’t get it, not even a little bit.

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
2 years 5 months ago

Tejada’s best is better than Drew’s worst. Drew has had negative WAR in 2 seasons (one of them a full season, not an injury year), and Tejada averaged better than 2 WAR per 150 in 2 seasons. Over their careers Drew has averaged 2.2 WAR per 150 roughly and Tejada 1.1. The steamer projection has Drew about .5 WAR over Tejada. Sure, last year Drew was 4 wins better.

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Funny, the Red Sox on paper are actually weaker than last years team but Fan Graphs projections are wildly different based on 2013. Its also curious that Zips has the Red Sox losing some 15 WAR due to downgrades and regressions.

I think the projections on Drew are still dwelling too much on 2012 which was related to his 2011 ankle injury. He was one of the top 10 SS in the league and would represent at least a 2 WAR upgrade based on 2013 for 11 teams.

The problem with Drew is if he were a better player in 2013, or a worse player in 2013 (meaning no draft pick compensation) he would be better off.
Nobody should have a problem with the former, it’s the latter that is nonsensical.

Danny
Guest
Danny
2 years 5 months ago

So just because a projection says a team won’t make the playoffs, that makes it so? The Mets signing Drew would be a huge upgrade at SS. Tejada is not a starter and they both compliment each other well with their platoon splits.

Mets signed a 33 year old Granderson to a 4 year deal and 41 year old former PED pitcher to a 2 year deal. But we can’t give a 31 year old SS a 2 year deal?

pft
Guest
pft
2 years 5 months ago

Yeah, the Mets have a responsibility to the Mets fans and taxpayers (for their new stadium) to field the best team possible within a reasonable budget. With Revenues which should be close to 300 million with the new TV money and Santana and Bay off the books, their payroll will be well under 100 million, far below what it should be based on MLB averages of about 45% of revenue going to payroll.

Can’t blame them for trying to get the best deal but waiting too long could cost them the chance of getting him

Danny
Guest
Danny
2 years 5 months ago

Agreed.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 5 months ago

What about the Marlins? Could they be a dark horse here?

JamesFan
Member
JamesFan
2 years 5 months ago

I don’t think the Red Sox want to sign Drew unless he was both cheap and on a one year deal. It’s been said over and over that Bogaerts would be more valuable as a shortstop and a third basemen and there are people who think he could handle that position because of his work ethic. Once he’s played 3rd for one full year, he’s more likely to stay there and signing Drew might hurt the club long term since there is a ‘possibility’ they will have a SS hole for the foreseeable future. A 2yr Drew contract would basically seal the deal and make Bogaerts a 3B unless that 2nd year has Drew being the utility guy which isn’t likely.

At 3B, they still have Middlebrooks and Cecchini right behind him. Putting Bogaerts there would create a serious logjam at one position and a hole in 2015+ (unless you believe in Devan Marrero whose bat isn’t fully there yet).

Chums41
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

The problem with Jeff Sullivan, and others who write for these off the run publications, is that they actually are paid for writing this drivel. You state, “For his career, Drew has been a slightly below-average hitter”, which I assume you mean as a shortstop. Later in the article, you go on to state that your “preferred wild card” would be to insert him as the starting second basemen for Toronto, a team that finished dead last in the AL East, yet one you describe as being “on the playoff bubble.” The basis of your article is mind numbing.

If Drew is indeed a slightly below-average hitting shortstop, than logic and stats dictate that Drew is a below average hitting second basemen. This patently obvious conclusion begs the question, why would the Jays pay the presumably $10 million per that Boras will be asking to sign a below average hitting second basemen?

Finally, I feel compelled to follow-up on your Jays being “on the playoff bubble” statement. The Jays are in absolutely no danger of making the playoffs in 2014 and given the fiercely competitive nature of the AL East, will be lucky to climb the ladder to 4th place.

LaLoosh
Guest
2 years 5 months ago

not that I need to defend Jeff, but I think the Jays being near contention, if you will, comes from the thinking that prior to the ’13 season they were considered a strong contender. Things obviously went awry but if they get healthy and have some moderate luck they could find themselves in the think of a race (I’m assuming that they will add a SP to the rotation before ST).

As far as Drew to play 2B for the Jays, I actually with you if your premise is that it seems highly unlikely that the Jays would pay anywhere near 10M per for Drew to play the less-demanding 2B. Drew can command a (relatively) high price bc he’s competent at the position on the IF that’s hardest to fill. If he’s not at SS, then he isn’t going to be able to command big $. As it is, the forces of supply and demand are already going to whack his price down considerably. Would have to figure that if the price comes down enough the MEts will jump in. They’re just doing the wise thing giving the circumstances, while Boras is trying to find another interested team. Marlins?

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