The Yankees said they were in on Stephen Drew, then they were out, and now Jon Heyman says they’re back in. If you believe that the team was at any point trying to get below $189 million, the reasoning for being back on the Drew bandwagon again is because they no longer have to worry about staying below the luxury tax threshold.
If the Yankees front office believes that Drew can handle an everyday utility infielder type job, Drew is the perfect signing for the club. Drew has only played shortstop over his professional career, but there is some consensus that he could handle third base. Drew’s ability to cover both infield spots on the left side fits in perfectly with Alex Rodriguez absent and Derek Jeter in injury-limbo. He’s a left-handed bat that could re-blossom in Yankee Stadium, perhaps returning to his 20+ home run glory from 2008.
Last season, Drew played in Fenway where he hit .253/.333/.443 while playing an excellent shortstop. But Fenway is a very tough ballpark for left-handed hitters. Drew actually played better at home, yet he hit just 6 home runs at Fenway. Take a look at his batted ball locations from home games superimposed on Yankee Stadium dimensions.
Looks pretty good, no? There were 15 balls hit at home in 2013 that could have been home runs in Yankee Stadium.
Drew is a really good match for the team and the ballpark, assuming he can play third base. He will cost a signing team a draft pick as well, but the Yankees already lost all their first round picks to Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. Other interested teams include the Red Sox and Mets. While the Red Sox don’t seem keen on giving up the draft pick with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks already penciled in to the lineup, the Mets don’t look like they want to give him a long term deal.
With his market drying up, money to spend, and a clear need and fit, my money is on Drew signing with the Yankees soon.
While we’re at it, feel free to use this as an open thread.