Tackling 4 Main Arguments Against Signing Stephen Drew

stephen drew

Why should the Mets sign Stephen Drew?  I mean, 3 years and $30-36 million is crazy for Drew, right?  Here are some of the arguments flying around this offseason regarding Drew.

“He’s not worth it, he’s just barely average.”  

“Drew is hurt all the time. He is way too injury prone.”

“Drew costs too much, not worth it.” 

“Give Tejada another shot.”

Let’s tackle all four issues one by one and take an in depth look at Drew, and then decide.

1. Drew Is Just Barely Average

Let’s compare Drew to some of the other SS in the league.

1. A. Simmons – 6.8
2. H. Ramirez – 5.4
3. T. Tulowitzki – 5.3
4. E. Andrus – 4.3
5. J.Segura – 3.9
6. I.Desmond – 3.7
7. J. Hardy – 3.7
8. J. Peralta – 3.3
9. Y. Escobar – 3.3
10. S. Drew – 3.1

1. T. Tulowitzki – 5.6
2. H. Ramirez – 5.1
3. I. Desmond – 5.0
4. A. Simmons – 4.7
5. Y.Escobar – 3.9
6. J.Peralta – 3.6
7. J.Lowrie – 3.6
8. S. Drew – 3.4
9. J. Segura – 3.4
10. J. Hardy – 3.4

If you like sabermetrics, Drew was Top 10 among all SS last season in wins above replacement in both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.

He was also 2nd in BB% (10.8) behind only Tulowitzki (11.1), 3rd in ISO right behind Tulo and Hanley at .190, and 9th in wRC+ 109.

Sabermetrics not your cup of tea?  Let’s look at some standard statistics.  Drew finished in the Top 8 among all shortstops in 2013.

He also finished in the Top 10 in:
– SLG% – 6th
– OBP – 9th
– Doubles – 10th

He finished Top 5* in:
– RBI – 5th
– Triples – 2nd
– Walks – 4th

*Despite playing in only 124 games last season.

All standard statistics guys like the HR

T. Tulowitzki 25
J. Hardy 25
H. Ramirez 20
I. Desmond 20
A. Simmons 17
J. Lowrie 15
A. Cabrera 14
S. Drew 13

Conclusion: Drew was definitely not average in 2013.  He was a top 10 SS.

2. Drew Is Hurt All The Time

Is Drew injury prone?

Years played by year:

  • 2006 – 59
  • 2007 – 150
  • 2008 – 152
  • 2009 – 135
  • 2010 – 151
  • 2011 – 86
  • 2012 – 79
  • 2013 – 124

Drew averaged 147 games per season from 2007, his first full year, through 2010.

In July of 2011 Drew fractured his ankle sliding into home plate that required surgery. You can view the video online simply by searching “Drew injures ankle”.  It is gruesome. He was out for the rest of the season after playing in almost every game up to that point.

The injury required surgery that cost Drew the first 74 games of the 2012 season. He played 79 of 89 games upon his return and that includes being traded to Oakland from Arizona at the deadline.  It comes as no surprise that, after missing a full year from a serious injury, 2012 was by far his worst season with a .657 OPS

If you take out 2011-2012 during which he was recovering from surgery, Drew has averaged 142 games per season throughout his career, and looks to be fully recovered after his stellar 2013 campaign. If someone ask me the question “Is Stephen Drew injury prone?” my answer would have to be, NO. He just had one really bad injury.

Let’s look at Drew’s 162 and then converted 142 game average

162 Games: .264/.329/.435 – 160 H –  82 R – 36 2B – 10 3B – 16 HR – 72 RBI

142 Games: .264/.329/.435 – 140 H – 72 R – 31 2B – 9 3B – 14 HR – 63 RBI

Pretty nice numbers for a shortstop.  Especially one that is so good defensively.  Keep in mind that these numbers include his 2012 season in which he was returning from a year away from baseball. The numbers above should translate very well to Citi Field. Even if he does miss some time, he was still a top 10 shortstop last season in 124 games.  I would imagine he might be top 5 over the course of a full season.

Conclusion: Drew is not injury prone.

3. Drew Costs Too Much

Jhonny Peralta just got a 4-Year, $53 Million deal on the open market coming off a suspension for PEDs and is almost two years older than Drew. Peralta didn’t cost a draft pick, but Drew will only cost the Mets a 3rd round pick, and he is much better defensively than Peralta. 

Consider their 162 Game Averages

Peralta – .268/.330/.425 – 160 H – 82 R –  35 2B – 3 3B – 18 HR – 82 RBI – .755 OPS

Drew – .264/.329/.435 – 160 H – 82 R – 36 2B – 10 3B – 16 HR – 72 RBI – .764 OPS

Surprisingly close.  Almost identical, and I like Drew’s intangibles by a mile.  It will be interesting to see how Peralta performs with no juice, from age 32-35 while switching leagues.  I’ll take Stephen Drew in his 31-33 season all day long, and it will only cost $30 million for three years at the most. as opposed to $53 million for the PED guy.  Whether you like Drew or not, the current market rate for comparable shortstops is 4/$53.

Conclusion: Drew’s asking price is a bargain relative to the market. 

4. Forget Drew and Give Tejada Another Shot

Personally, I’m not a big Ruben Tejada fan.  I don’t like his work ethic, at all.  Maybe he will grow out of it, but for the most part, as it pertains to work ethic, you either have a strong one, and it drives you all the time, or you don’t.  It’s not something you learn.  A burning desire to get better every single day, is not something you can pick up from a trainer in the offseason. It’s clear to me that Tejada has no fire.  On top of that, he has no tools in his tool box.  It’s possible a different manager might be able to motivate Tejada to obtain better results, but its pretty clear Terry Collins isn’t that guy.

The one thing that I do like about Tejada is that he can hit left-handed pitching.  Coincidentally, the one down side of Drew’s resume is that he doesn’t hit LHP very well.  I don’t hold it against him though, as very few lefties in baseball fair well against their pitching counterparts these days. The LOOGY spot on the roster has changed the game.  Thanks LaRussa.  Choo just received $150 million dollars, and he can’t hit lefties either.

Tejada would make a very nice backup middle infielder if we signed Drew.  Those 20 games per season that Drew misses, can be days off against a LHP, which should not only boost Drew’s numbers, but Tejada’s as well.  Tejada can also give Murphy a day off or be a late defensive replacement, as Murphy hits RHP much better than he hits LHP. Tejada has a place on the team, it’s just not as the starting shortstop.

           Vs RHP               Vs LHP   
Drew    .284/.377/.498      .196/.246/.340
Murphy  .292/.331/.459      .273/.292/.324
Tejada  .171/.219/.212      .274/.348/.371

Conclusion:  Drew renders Tejada a valuable backup.

The bottom line is the Mets are a much better team with Stephen Drew.  I understand Alderson waiting out the market, but even getting Drew for three years is a bargain at this point, though he likely signs for two.

You could argue that next year’s free agent class is stronger, but you could also argue that several of those SS will cost  a First Round Pick + much more money than Drew is currently asking for.  You could also argue that Drew is just as good, if not better, than any of the free agent SS on the market next season, with the exception of Hanley.  And I’ll be surprised if Hanley reaches free agency.

I’m not saying that Drew will make the Mets a playoff team, but crazier things have happened.  Cleveland added Swisher & Bourn and made the playoffs after a terrible 2012.  Is that much different than adding Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon, Chris Young and Drew?   Let’s put the glass slipper on CinDREWella’s foot.  It’s almost midnight.  Time is running out.