|And Then There Were 16: Celtics to Waive Four Players, Bynum Next?||Chandler Jones Out 1 Month With Hip Injury; Patriots Sign Alan Branch||2014 MLB Playoffs Expert Picks: World Series||Patriots Trade for Titans LB Akeem Ayers|
This offseason, the Red Sox filled a void they had up the middle with the signing of Stephen Drew, younger brother of J.D. Drew and will also wear No. 7, to a one-year, $9.5 M deal. It was a great signing in my opinion on many fronts. Yes, they overpaid for another Drew, but it is for only one year (a bridge year if you want to say), until Xander Bogaerts is MLB-ready. With that said, lets take a look at the Red Sox shortstops:
Drew has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons, playing in just 165 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Oakland A’s with .250/.326/.382 5 HR 45 RBI and .223/.309/.348 7 HR 28 RBI respectively. The Red Sox hope that if he can stay healthy and take advantage of hitting at Fenway Park, the lefty can return to the .275/335/462, 12-3B, 15-HR, 60-RBI hitter he was from 2008-2010. He’s naturally a gap hitter with some speed and should put up the double and triple numbers he had in Arizona. Drew is one of three players to have three seasons of 20 doubles, 10 triples, and 10 home runs since 2008 (Shane Victorino and Jose Reyes the other two).
While the numbers are no guarantee, what Drew will bring to the table (or I should say field) is great defense. He has always taken pride in his defense and it shows. His career .978 fielding percentage is seventh best among active shortstops and his 72 errors is ranked third among active shortstops with at least 3000 chances.
If Drew can stay healthy and produce this will turn out to be the Red Sox best acquisition of the winter. If health problems continue, here are his replacements:
Pedro Ciriaco showed flashes of greatness last year as one of the Red Sox only bright spots. He hit .293/.315/.390 with 2 HR and 19 RBI in 76 games at SS, 2B, 3B, and all three outfield positions. The utility man will be a great backup to Drew if he can continue to play at the level he was last season. If Drew does get hurt, it will be Ciriaco at shortstop rather than Jose Iglesias.
Make no mistake, Iglesias’ glove his MLB-ready, and he might be one of the best defensive players on the Red Sox, but his bat could not be farther from it. He hit .118/.200/.191 with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 68 plate appearances last year. Reports are that he spent the entire offseason hitting with the Red Sox, but it is unclear at this point what progress he has made.