Wednesday, February 24, 2010

J.D. Drew

PH2007102001507 Unlike most of Red Sox Nation, I was a fan of the J.D. Drew signing when it happened and am still a fan of it today.  I can understand Sox fans getting annoyed with the fact that Drew tends to be a little injury prone, but I can’t understand fans getting so upset about his salary and an incorrect perception that he’s not playing well enough to warrant that salary.

I was happy to see an article in the Valentine’s Day edition of the Boston Globe explaining “Why the critics of J.D. Drew may be off-base” written by my current favorite Sox writer over at the Globe, Amalie Benjamin.  She’s a breath of fresh air from the gloom and doom, muckraker Dan Shaughnessy.

Benjamin uses data from to show Drew’s “worth” compared to his salary and then she compares it to other outfielders who signed multiyear deals after the 2006 season.  I’ll list the data first and then see if you can guess who is who.

Value: $15.4M
Salary: $25.5M
Difference: -$10.1M

Value: -$5.2M
Salary: $26.2M
Difference: -$31.4M

Value: $33.4M
Salary: $41M
Difference: -$7.6M

Value: $45.4M
Salary: $42M
Difference: +$3.4M

Value: $40M
Salary: $43M
Difference: -$3M

The players are Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Pierre and J.D. Drew.  Can you match the players with their numbers?

Of those players, only J.D. Drew has a value higher than the salary he was paid.  You can find his numbers 4th on that list.  The only other decent signing on that list is Carlos Lee who has produced $40M of value while being paid $43M.  When you take into consideration that this takes into account a 2007 season where Drew was absolutely terrible until hitting a grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS, it makes his 2008 and 2009 seasons look even better.  Would Sox fans have preferred that the team sign Alfonso Soriano (3rd on the list), Juan Pierre (1st on the list) or the absolutely terrible Matthews (2nd on the list)?  According to this rating system, Matthews owes money to the Angels.

There are plenty of numbers to back up why fans are wrong about Drew.  Benjamin states that only 10 players had an OPS of .900 or greater in 2008 and 2009: Pujols, Manny, A-Rod, Berkman, Teixeira, Youk, Hanley Ramirez, Holliday, Chase Utley and Drew.  Fans love Youk and his serial killer look because he’s “intense.”  Fans loved weak hitting, slow moving Trot Nixon because he was a “Dirt Dog” and dove after those balls he was too slow to get to.  Fans haven’t taken to Drew because he is quiet and reserved.  They say he doesn’t put effort into the game, but many of those fans were alright with Manny not running out ground balls and pop-ups.

Benjamin also states that in the three years that Drew has been in Boston there have been only three players with a better on-base percentage than Drew’s .390 and they are Manny (.412), Holliday (.403) and Ordonez (.397).  Adam Dunn has also gotten on base at a .390 clip over that span.

Critics always point at Drew’s low RBI and HR totals while ignoring his high run total and the number of times he gets on base.  Fans will continue to call him “Nancy” and unfairly criticize him.  I’ll continue to root for him knowing what he brings to the team.  He’ll never get credit for playing in 2007 when all he probably wanted to do was spend time with a sick child.  Now it has come out that he was battling a sore shoulder in 2009 which was his best season in Boston.  He’s the best defensive right fielder that the Sox have had since Dewey who was the best ever.  He’s never going to be the guy that carries the team on a daily basis, but he’s the type of player that you need on a winning team.  His contributions are going to be especially important this season on a team that is a little bit weaker on offense than normal.  He has to get on base for those rare occasions when Mike Cameron closes his eyes and makes solid contact with the ball.  I think it happens 20 or so times a season.  2010 would be a nice time for fans to accept Drew because they’re going to have enough to complain about with Cameron and Beltre hitting around .260 and not getting on base much more often than that.  As the Amalie Benjamin article showed, things could be a heck of a lot worse.

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1 comment:

Field of Cards said...

I never liked J.D. Drew for multiple reasons. Nonetheless I agree that he is extremely valuable.

To me this boils down to people still thinking walks are monumentally worse than singles to left.

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