By Tom Verducci
Editor's note: Through a content-sharing partnership with Sports Illustrated and SI.com, occasional articles and information from the magazine and its website will be used on Boston.com. Here is some Red Sox-related insight from SI baseball writer Tom Verducci, who, in a piece analyzing which free agents might be bargains, notes a striking similarity between Jason Bay now and J.D. Drew when the Red Sox signed him after the 2006 season.
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[Matt] Holliday and Bay are safe picks, even if they wind up slightly overpaid, because they are legitimate middle-of-the-order hitters. The Red Sox are under some pressure to wind up with one of them, otherwise they need to use some of their dwindling trade chips to find a platoon partner for Jeremy Hermida. They could sign Marlon Byrd, but he comes with a warning: His numbers are inflated by his hitting at The Ballpark in Arlington.
Bay is virtually the same hitter that J.D. Drew was when the Red Sox gave Drew $70 million over five years three years ago. Look at the comparison:
PLAYER AGE G AVG/OBP/SLG OPS OPS+
Bay 31 922 .280/.376/.519 .895 131
Drew 31 960 .286/.393/.512 .905 132
To read more of Verducci's column on free agents, click here.