The last time we saw Stephen Drew, he was pummeling a pitch into the Red Sox’ bullpen to put Boston up, 4-0, in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series.
Seven months and one rejected $14.1 million qualifying offer later, and Drew will finally return to Boston’s roster for Monday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.
After spending the first month and a half of the baseball season working out in Florida (and possibly cussing out agent Scott Boras), Drew officially re-signed with Boston on May 21st for a one-year, $10 million deal.
Since that time, Drew has been on assignment in the Sox’ minor league system, playing three games with Single-A Greenville, and two with Pawtucket. John Farrell stated that Drew will likely play in two more games with the PawSox over the weekend before getting the call up on Monday.
Last season with the Red Sox, Drew hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBI’s, but his splits were pretty lopsided. He hit just .196 against left handers as opposed to .284 against right handers. He played above-average defense at shortstop, committing 8 errors in 516 total chances, and made some critical defensive plays for the Sox down the stretch and throughout the postseason.
Drew’s value comes in the form of his defense and his ability to drive in runs from the shortstop position, especially against righties. It came as a pretty big shock to me that no other teams gave him an offer. I understand that the draft pick compensation tied into signing him was a big reason for that, but still, his 67 RBI’s last season were good for 5th best among Major League shortstops. It’s a rare commodity in today’s game to get a player who can produce like that from the shortstop position.
But all this Drew talk does have a domino effect on the rest of the team. With Drew back at short, the young Xander Bogaerts will transition back to third base (where he played throughout the postseason for Boston). It also may spell the end of the road for utility man Jonathan Herrera, who has been used sparingly with the recent play of Brock Holt.
It’s certainly a tough blow for Bogaerts, who had his heart set on being the Red Sox’ shortstop for years to come. After a shaky start, he seemed to be settling into a comfort zone at the position, but apparently Boston felt that they were better off bringing back the veteran Drew. I can’t say I disagree, especially when you consider that it isn’t permanent.
Barring anything crazy, Bogaerts will shift back to short for the 2015 season and beyond. For now, he needs to swallow his pride and just continue to swing the bat the way he has of late.
The Boston Red Sox are a better, and more importantly, deeper team with Stephen Drew on the roster.
The front office wanted him back. The players wanted him back. And you should too.
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