Stephen Drew hasn't played meaningful baseball since Oct. 30.
His last game with the Red Sox was certainly memorable.
His return to their lineup sometime next week probably won't generate quite the same excitement.
The Red Sox and Stephen Drew called it a draw on Tuesday, They agreed on the qualifying offer the Red Sox offered to Drew this past offseason. It's a $14.1 million one-year contract that's pro-rated. Drew gets about $10 million and his agent, Scott Boras, ends up looking the fool.
The Red Sox brought back Drew, 31, on the day of the NBA Lottery. The lottery is one of those sports endeavors that comes laden with hope, which is the ultimate sucker bet in sports.
The entire NBA draft is a lottery, never mind the lottery. The "Should the Celtics get Kevin Love?" question was the biggest no-brainer of no-brainers. Love is proven NBA standout who can be a large piece of any championship-contender puzzle. There isn't a player available in this NBA draft who rates a similar claim, at for those of us who are sober.
The Celtics, it turned out, tanked an entire season on the hope of a bunch of Ping Pong balls and got nothing but a No. 6 pick in the first round. How did that work out, Danny?
Far too many believe teams should gamble on the hope of a potential superstar rather than invest in proven talent. The Red Sox, at least, were willing to invest in Drew. But Drew also fell prey to the hope of a better deal. He believed the words of his agent who must have convinced him that the Mets were going to call with a three-year offer tomorrow.
Drew is the surest of sure things in a sense that you know what you're going to get when he puts on that No. 7 jersey and occupies the shortstop position. He batted.253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBIs in 2013, but his defense was exceptional [.984 fielding percentage].
In the playoffs, he hit a tepid .111 [6-for-54] but he hit the home run that, for all practical purposes, finished off the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6.
Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.
The Red Sox have been trying to find a reason to not use Drew for the past two seasons. Last year, Jose Iglesias was groomed and hyped as the answer to "Name the Red Sox shortstop for the next five years." Thanks in part to Clay Buchholz' soft-shoulder, the Red Sox dealt Iglesias in a three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston.
Drew was good enough.
Drew was the last shortstop standing when the playoffs began and kept his hold on the spot despite going 1 for 20 in the ALCS against Detroit. His defense, we learned by example, was enough compensation for him driving in just two runs
in his first 15 postseason games last season.
Still good enough.
The Red Sox weren't good enough without Drew on the left-hand side of the infield in 2014. Third-baseman Will Middlebrooks is on the DL but barely registered at the plate this season. His numbers .197/.305/.324 and 23 strikeouts against two home runs in 82 plate appearance mean his spot at third base could be spotty and precarious once it's determined he's healthy.
.183 on the road, and that's WITHOUT Stephen Drew. Yikes #RedSox— Obnoxious Boston Fan (@realOBF) April 16, 2014
Xander Bogaerts will likely take Middlebrook's spot at third on a regular basis once Drew gets re-acclimated to live pitching and gets into "game shape."
After 43 games last season, Drew had made zero errors. After 43 game this season, Middlebrooks and Bogaerts had combined for six.
In baseball, 'game shape" means being able to run to first base without having to take a cigarette break or stretch your quads.
Hopefully, Middlebrooks' eventual demotion to Pawtucket and/or inclusion in a trade package will pave the way for Jenny Dell's return to the NESN sidelines. The Red Sox have yet to win a World Series since Dell worked their games. Sometimes those curses can last a long, long time.
Karma is a ... well, you know.
Bogaerts was ticked for Cooperstown 2039 by the time the World Series ended. This season, he's demonstrated a remarkable ability to turn routine plays into game-changing moments. His numbers have been pedestrian at the plate [.269/.369/.379] with just two home runs and seven RBIs in 145 at-bats. He's struck out 38 times.
Drew has now outlasted both Iglesias and Bogaerts at the shortstop position as far as the Red Sox are concerned. The Sabermetricians may never recover. There was never a choice between Bogaerts and Drew. Rather, the Red Sox were choosing between Drew and Middlebrooks all along. Middlebrook's injury made the choice far too easy.
Then there's this: Drew against right-handed pitchers last season: 284/.377/.498 with nine home runs and 48 RBIs.
Getting that production from third base or shortstop would seem like a far-off dream for the
20-23 20-24 Red Sox. Drew isn't going to bat leadoff, nor will he be expected to start swatting doubles with runners in scoring position.
Drew isn't the answer, but he's one response to what ails these Red Sox. Boston demonstrated that it wasn't going to avoid the "Transactions" agate for the rest of 2014. Ten million dollars is still real money, even for John W. Henry and the Red Sox. The experts and insiders told us that the Red Sox were going to ride this season out without making any substantive moves when it came to their youngsters.
Manager John Farrell did his best to downplay the fallout: "We still see Xander as a shortstop. That was explained very clearly to Xander," he said.
Sure, sometime in 2015.
The current shortstop responded to this vote of confidence by making two errors in Tuesday night's 7-4 loss to Toronto.
One youngster down to third base, one to go.
The next question: Does this mean the Red Sox are willing to make a move when it comes to their centerfielder, as well? How long will Jackie Bradley Jr.'s excruciating .205 average be tolerated before the Red Sox feel compelled to make another move? The Red Sox were given a Hall Pass by their fanbase with Jacoby Ellsbury. But that doesn't mean they can take 2014 off when it comes to player moves and roster shakeups. If they blinked on Drew on May 20, six days before Memorial Day, following their first four-game losing streak since 2012, it probably means there will be more moves coming before Father's Day, July 4 or certainly the trade deadline.
Five straight losses. Stay tuned.
The Red Sox showed Tuesday they aren't planning to cross this Bridge Year without a fight.
The OBF Blog is written by award-winning journalist, Bay State native and Boston.Com columnist Bill Speros. Got a news tip, want to let him know directly what you think, have a complaint or compliment about his "aggressively relevant" content or hate people who speak about themselves in the third person, hit him up on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or hit him on at his
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