Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox decided to sign last year’s shortstop Stephen Drew to a 1 yr / 10 M dollar deal. The Red Sox have not been solid defensively and have not gotten any production from the third base spot, which I would assume Xander Bogaerts would take over once Stephen Drew is ready.
The Sox decided that Stephen Drew was not worth the long term contract in the offseason as they offered him a qualiftying offer that they knew he would not accept. The Red Sox were fine with letting Drew go because they felt that Bogaerts was ready for shortstop and they would receive a compensation pick from the team that signed him. It was clear that once Spring Training started and Drew was still without an employer, that he would not sign until after the 2014 MLB Draft so that the team who signs him will not lose a draft pick.
Things have not gone as expected in Boston through the first 44 games as the team has struggled offensively and defensively. In Bogaerts first full season in the big leagues and first season at shortstop, his fielding percentage is 22nd among shortstops in the big leagues. If you are a Sox fan like I am, you have noticed that his range seems limited as he cannot get to a lot of balls to his glove side. Looking at last season, Stephen Drew had the 3rd best fielding percentage among shortstops and was a vacuum at shortstop in the postseason.
The most surprising aspect of this year’s Red Sox has been their offense. Last season, the Red Sox had baseball’s best offense as they led of all baseball with 853 runs. This season, they rank just 16th in runs scored. The Sox have been dreadful against RHP this season hitting .242 as a team. Last season, Drew hit .284 against RHP with a .377 OBP. A big factor in the decision to sign Drew was the production from Will Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks had a solid rookie season but has not been able to find his swing in the past two seasons and is hitting .197 with 23 strikeouts in 71 at-bats. Middlebrooks is also on the DL for the second time this season and the Sox cannot afford going another 15 games with back-ups at third base. The one-year deal with Drew does not mean that the Sox are giving up on Middlebrooks and Bogaerts as a MLB shortstop but with the Sox on their first 5 game losing streak since 2012, something had to be done.
Stephen Drew will be placed on the Red Sox 40 man roster today and will go to AAA Pawtucket to get a couple of games before joining the big league team. It could be 7-10 days until Drew is ready but if the Sox continue to struggle, look for Drew to be forced into action.
Other Sox Notes:
Felix Doubront left Tuesday’s start with should fatigue and could land on the disabled list. Doubront has struggled this season as he is 2-4 with a 5.12 ERA. The Red Sox have a plethora of young arms in their minor league system and I expect Allen Webster or Ruby De La Rosa to get the nod for Sunday’s start.