Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 30, 2006
BASEBALL: Drew Sox

Word is that JD Drew is signing with the Red Sox for 4 years and 56 million. Drew's an outstanding offensive player - he's a real upgrade compared to Trot Nixon - and the star-studded Sox shouldn't need him to be an emotional leader, which he obviously isn't.

That said, $14 million a year for a guy who has qualified for the batting title just twice in 8 years and has missed more than 50 games in a season three of the past six years is awfully pricey, even considering how badly inflated the free agent market has been thus far (it sure makes Aramis Ramirez at $15 million a year look like a steal). What is alarming is the idea that the Sox might use Drew to replace Manny. Manny's contract at this point is cheaper - $38 million over two years. If you look at Runs Created, for example, Manny's established performance level over 2004-06 is 127 runs created compared to 88 for Drew (9.20 per 27 outs compared to 7.69 for Drew). Now, there are ameliorating factors. Drew played in Dodger Stadium and Turner Field, not Fenway. And Drew is 31, while Manny at 35 is entering a serious danger zone, especially for a guy who is coming off an up year - the odds are way more than 50/50 that Manny is due for a serious falloff in 2007. But even for all of that, Drew's fragility and lesser offensive skills still make him worth a lot less than 74% of Manny (which is where their salaries stack up).

PS - This TJ Simers article about Drew is interesting on many levels I lack the time to address at the moment.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:46 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Soriano, Drew, an unknown Japanese pitcher. It does seem that this is one of those bell curve moments when the owners tend to lose their minds and wallets. And Bradford for $10 million? Considering the state of the Orioles, he will pitch a lot, and probably turn up lame in September.

When you think of it, trying to compare the Manny/JD numbers is kind of strange. Manny is one of the few (Bonds, Thomas and Manny) who can be mentioned with Ted and Mickey, while JD Drew is....well, he can afford a first name now.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at November 30, 2006 1:23 PM

baseball-reference.com's list of similar players to Drew only really includes one player (Jim Edmonds) who would have been a good investment at those term, although David Justice also had some good years in his thirties. The list includes some people like Richard Hidalgo and Bobby Higginson who would have been especially hideous investments, and some others like Kirk Gibson and Kevin Mitchell who remained productive but only sporadically in the lineup.

Manny's comparables are, of course, the greatest players in baseball history. Nonetheless, quite a few of them, including Willie Mays and Frank Robinson, ceased producing at alltime-great levels right at the age Manny's at now.

Posted by: Jerry at November 30, 2006 2:47 PM

Manny could have a "big fall off" and still be a top 5 right handed hitter. If the Sox just DH'd him on the road and played Ortiz at 1b the defense thing wouldn't be an issue.

Bob Ryan and BSG might disagree about Doc, but they are both on point about JD Drew --- "no thanks."

Posted by: Brendan at November 30, 2006 3:32 PM

Drew's an amazing package of skills. But at 31 years-old, with his proven inability to stay in the line-up, $14m per year is simply insane.

Did Mephistophiles call for performance on his contract with Theo the day after the Sox won the series or what?

* * *

Anyone else think Randy Wolf on the Dodgers is gonna work out very well?

Posted by: Mike at November 30, 2006 4:16 PM

JD Drew is a great pick up for Boston, if you can't stand them and love watching teams overpay for horrible players. Having watched him whine while in St. Louis and ride the bench every time he got a blister or a hemorrhoid, it is enjoyable to see him move around so much, because he never fits in. Amazingly enough he never gets the hint. I think if Boston is looking to buy the biggest pansy in baseball, then good call. Nice move Theo.

Posted by: patrick at November 30, 2006 7:14 PM

The free agent market is INSANE this year.

Woody Williams signing with the Astros for 2 years at 12 mil may be the best deal yet...but he's 41 years old. And 100 mil for Carlos Lee is just over the top.

Contrast that with the contract the Astros signed with Oswalt last summer: 5 years for 75 mil. Makes that look like the bargain of the century.

About 5 years ago I decided the owners were starting to wise up and get this under control. I was wrong.

Posted by: Dwilkers at December 1, 2006 5:48 AM

All it takes is one owner to spend crazy and it catches on like wild. A-Rod and Manny seem like bargains now after seeing some of these deals and no one thought that would ever be the case. Gary Matthews is the most egregious signing. Seven very mediocre seasons followed by one good season and he gets 5/50???

I hope these owners/GM's are familiar with the latin term caveat emptor. If you sign J.D. Drew you are going to lose him for a portion of each season due to some medical issue. There is only one case I aware of where a player who was fragile in his 20's and then being very durable in his 30's (Paul Molitor). In most cases a player who breaks down easily continues to do so.

Posted by: largebill at December 1, 2006 8:47 AM

It is really hard to look at the Red Sox and feel comfortable with what they are doing. Quite simply J.D. Drew is a loser. He's Milton Bradley-esque in that his talent and swing look nice but then you get them and you really with you hadn't. I will be insanely sorry when they finally get rid of Manny. He is the greatest right-handed hitter of certainly this generation and maybe the last couple. He has plenty of bang left in that bat, especially in Fenway, he serves as great protection for Ortiz and given the state of MLB right now he is somewhat of a deal. This is a team run on Bill James-ian philosophies? Does not look that way now. The outfield is Pena, Crisp and Drew? They want Julio Lugo to play short and the midget Pedroia (.191 last year) at second? Taking Manny out of that line-up and adding a cancerous, notoriously oft-injured/lazy, mildly productive, NL-only guy is disastrous.

I just don't get it. They are willing to pony up all this money for super-questionable guys (Drew, Lugo, the Japanese guy) but they won't pay Damon? Color me super-sceptical about this team and please explain to me how they aren't, with Manny's departure, the 4th best team in the AL East.

Posted by: jim at December 1, 2006 11:56 AM

I agree, Jim. But Manny's not gone yet, and the state of the team will be determine by what they get for him, if he moves.

Posted by: abe at December 1, 2006 4:28 PM

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Posted by: jonny667 at December 12, 2006 9:50 AM

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Posted by: jonny372 at December 12, 2006 9:57 AM
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