Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Most Objective Look Possible

At least the most objective look you can get out of The GM.  It's time to forget the Second-Highest OPS of All AL Outfielders, forget the grand slam, forget the contract, forget the 440 weak ground balls to the right side, forget the Matt Joyce foul ball when instinct took over, forget the 1997 draft, and forget June 2008.  Right now the Red Sox are at a crossroads with JD Drew, and they have to make the decision regarding this guy about what they want to do with him. 

Josh Reddick, in limited playing time of course, has overwhelmingly exceeded JD Drew's rate stats (Drew's OPS+ is 74 right now, by the way).  The thing is, Drew's been so hideously bad in his last season before certain retirement that in that limited time, Reddick has come close to Drew's counting stats as well.  Reddick's 13 extra-base hits in 79 AB has exceeded Drew's eleven in 233 AB.  Drew still maintains a four-RBI lead, 22 to 18. 

The "objective" part of this is that I am not willing to release Drew and pay him the remaining $5,703,703.70 due to him on his contract.  (Remember how after 2009, Theo Epstein said that he was still worth "a tick" over $14 million a year due to stuff like "underlying performance?"  Those days were fun.)  Drew is currently an important bench player if the Red Sox need a bases-empty walk to start a rally late against a bad right-handed pitcher down the stretch.  And what if one of the Red Sox' good outfielders gets injured or decides he needs a month or two of heliotherapy down in Arizona?  That's where Drew fills a gap.  If you release him, who of value fills the roster spot?  If you play him, what value do you get out of him?  Nothing.  So you sit him.  That's where JD Drew's maximized value is.

It's not like JD Drew is going to be pissed off about sitting on the bench.  It's not like he's ever had any kind of ego or has ever played like he has something to prove.  Like Peter Gibbons, baseball has given him the motivation to work just hard enough to not get fired.  He's gotten on these quick spurts of actually performing shortly after people started to get on him on talk radio and the newspapers, and then has gone back into hibernation.  The hibernation started during the losing streak this year, and he hasn't kicked it.  People have been crushing him for a while now, and there haven't been any of these spurts.  The closest Drew has come to putting together a respectable stretch was an 11-game stretch where he hit .303 in May.  His longest hitting streak has been seven games.  Woof.  But benching this guy isn't going to light a fire under his rear end, as it hasn't yet.  It's not going to let him pout either, as he seems to like to take days off for no reason.  It's just what he is - a bench player.

Francona has done this before when he benched Coco Crisp for much of the home stretch in 2007, and then reversed the curse on 46 when he was pathetically bad in 2008.  Both players provided something of value to the team as bench players, and Drew can do the same thing while playing behind a superior player in Josh Reddick.  Reddick might not be the long term answer for the Red Sox, as some of his previous stretches with the big club have looked painfully bad.  I say "painfully" because I've been waiting a long time for this guy to replace Drew, and it seemed the day would never come. 

That day has come, but I'm not under the delusion that it's permanent.  If Reddick returns to earth or, even worse, goes Jed Lowrie on us for the month of August, JD Drew should still be there, ready to pitch in and ride into the sunset with some dignity.  After all, he can raise his OPS to "a tick" over league average in only a few at-bats.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very objective. Good post, DV. Just read a bit from SI that tossed out some minor-league names that might come up around the deadline- three Yanks on it, as a side note- that mentioned Kalish and the potential of his being blocked. If one eye is on the future, though, what are the chances the Sox look to trade either of these two guys coming down the stretch? Or would they just get nothing that would make such a deal more of a dump than a trade?

TimC

the gm at work said...

Holy smokes, that sounds like some foreshadowing to tomorrow's post!

Anonymous said...

Guys,

Glad we are introducing objectivity into the blog. While we are at it, let's take a look at this comparison:

Dustin Pedroia's MVP Season in

BA- .326
HR- 17
RBI- 83
SB- 20
2B- 54
Hits- 213
OBP- .376
SLG- .493
OPS- .869

Now Let's take a look at Player X's projections for the 2011 based on the year so far.

BA- .316
HR- 25
RBI- 91
SB- 47
2B- 44
Hits- 208
OBP- .375
SLG- .509
OPS- .884

I think we can all agree that Player X is poised to have a better season that Pedroia in 2008. Who is Player X? None other than Jacoby Ellsbury. Seriously, he needs to be in the MVP conversation right now with the type of season he is having. And by the way, he's doing all of this at a 2011 salary of 2.4 mil.

At 27, he's clearly in the prime of his career for the next 4-5 years, and I think if you're the Sox right now you gotta think about locking him up long term.

Also, I'm sure some of you are wondering, what is Coco Crisp making this year and what type of production is he giving? Well I've got that information. He'll be making 5.75 million this year, and he's hitting .264 with 4 home runs. I think the Sox made the right decision at CF.

Objectivity? I'll show you Objectivity.

-Bandi

Anonymous said...

have to agree with bandi here. with the way mvp voters have voted recently (both for mvp and cy young) an shift has taken place to put a greater emphasis on less-traditional stats as opposed to those that were typically looked at. look no further than the AL cy young winner's the last two years having 16 and 13 wins respectively and pedroia's 2008. ellsbury's 2011 fits in nicely with this trend. while a guy like gonzalez is a better player by about 15 miles, you can find good fielding, good hitting, slow, slightly less-dimensional players like him and pay them $20 million per year all over the game. what you can't find as readily is speed/power combos that bring a different dynamic to the table. have to hand it to him, that's ellsbury this year, and he's a bigtime mvp candidate right now as a result.

- pf

the gm said...

Front...

...and back.

John said...

I think if Ellsbury wasn't playing alongside Gonzalez then he would be getting a lot more consideration than he is. Unfortunately for him(maybe better for Sox fans in terms of him not getting full of himself) I don't think many people are looking at him that way. They're no doubt seeing a great season and a combo of power/speed but with Gonzalez line of .343/.405/.563 Ellsburys .326/.376/.493 gets overshadowed. At least that's what I can tell living so far from Boston and not hearing anything on the radio day in and day out.