Friday, January 24, 2014

With the Yankees now past the $189 million spending "limit", some have speculated that they may be thinking about adding Stephen Drew. This rumor makes sense because once the Yankees pass the $189 million mark, they might as well do whatever it takes to become the best team possible.

While this logic ignores the possibility that they have an actual budget, it does seem like the logical move. Assuming the Yankees have the money to spend there are positives and negatives of signing a player like Drew. After all, there's a reason that Drew is still a free agent despite his good season last year, and the state of the shortstop position. 

The positives of signing Drew are simple. The Yankees are currently relying on question marks all over their infield. Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Scott Sizemore, all come with durability or defensive concerns. Even Mark Teixeira may not be dependable at this point, there's always the risk he re-injures his wrist.

Drew could play all of those positions and he most likely wouldn't struggle doing so. That's a big improvement over current utility player Eduardo Nunez, who would probably be cut if Drew joins the Yankees.

But Drew is more than just a good glove, he is also an above average hitter for his position. Drew finished in top ten last year in WOBA and WRC+. While most of his production came at home, his homerun swing would work very well in Yankee Stadium. He only had a career-total of 13 homeruns, but looking at his hit chart we see that he would have had a few more homeruns if he played in Yankee Stadium.


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According to Steamer projections on Fangraphs, Drew is a two win player. If we assume that Tanaka is a three win player, which is a safe projection, the Yankees would be a 90 win team. This would be the 10th highest WAR projection and would really make them strong contenders.

Of course there are also negatives to signing him. And one those negatives will be his contract. He projects as a 1.5 to 2 win player depending on which projection system you use. While the Yankees could take that risk, it might not be worth it since Dean Anna's projections are similar.

Additionally, the Yankees would have to give up a second round pick in next year's draft to acquire him. This isn't a huge deal as most second round picks don't make it to the big leagues, but it might deter the Yankees from signing him. Then again the Yankees could turn this negative into a positive by offering him a one or two year deal. If Drew has another two years like he had last year, he will be the type of player that would actually be worth giving up a first round pick for, and the Yankees would essentially be trading a second round pick for a first round pick.

There's also questions about Drew's durability. It may not make sense to sign a guy who keeps getting hurt as an insurance option. Last season he had hamstring and concussion injuries, and had a very serious ankle injury in 2011.

With that said the Yankees can afford the risks. He may not be projected to be that great but that may be because he has played so little in 2011 and 2012. The Yankee already spent so much money they need to finish the job and get as close to a perfect team as possible. Drew gives them another option in case of an injury and they need that. The only reason to not sign him is if it means the Yankees can't use the money elsewhere. For instance the Brewers may be willing to trade Aramis Ramirez if they aren't competing and the Yankees would benefit more from getting him than Drew.


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