Sunday, November 26, 2006

When Free Becomes Expensive: J.D. Drew

I haven't taken any position on the J.D. Drew free agent acquisition 'controversy', mostly because I haven't really studied it. Let's run the numbers first, and then come back to intangibles.

Bill James' analysis: WIN SHARES

2004: 34
2005: 13
2006: 21

Meatloaf says, "two out of three ain't bad," so I'll defer to him. Drew obviously played at an extraordinary level in 2004 and rebounded to 'All-Star' caliber play last year, ergo, the big payday.

The Big Picture: Baseball Reference -

  • Overall career stats: .286/.393/.512/.905
  • Scored 100 runs once, 100 RBI once.
  • Similarity scores: most similar player TROT NIXON
  • Similar batters through age 30: include Jim Edmonds, Larry Doby, Kirk Gibson, David Justice

Three year statistics:

  • .293/.415/.532/.947
  • Pre and post All-Star similar
  • .263/.387/.427/.815 versus LHP
  • very few appearances versus AL East rivals


Bill Belichick talks about the importance of both ABILITY and DURABILITY. The money has simply gotten out of control, but not just for J.D. Drew, but for almost any Type A player. Other teams set the market, and make baseball pretty unpalatable for the average Kansas City Royal fan. Drew is going to get his dough, no question. The question is whether his durability (going forward) will justify the investment.

Is the Drew pursuit part of a bigger plan to relocate Manny Ramirez (baseball Domino Theory)? We don't know. If it is, then that clearly makes the money a lot easier for the Sox to swallow. The Sox have made some good calls (Mo Vaughn, Pedro Martinez) in these situations and obviously rolled the dice and lost on Roger Clemens. The verdict is clearly out on Johnny Damon, although I'd guess that when all is said and done, they may wish they paid him.

Of course, the intangibles (Dodger teammates distaste for Drew, the 'Nancy Drew' label, and so on) are impossible to know. Fred Lynn sometimes got a bad rap for not playing hurt, but everyone knew that he was running into walls, not running into outfielders like certain unnamed Sox past outfielders.

You hope that Theo Epstein, John Henry, and Terry Francona got the chance to look into Drew's eyes, and tried to look into his soul.

Maybe we need the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit from Quantico in on this one. Does Drew really WANT to come into the lion's den and play with the Eye of the Tiger? Or is he just another mercenary playing for a paycheck? Sox fans willingly pledge our allegiance to these heroes. We just don't want management bringing in frauds. So what is it J.D.? Do you want to be great or just richer?

1 comment:

Tim Daloisio said...

I agree with you here...

Here is my full take on Drew.

But I think the most important thing here is that Drew is a nice enough player, and at 3 years and $10 mm per, I would be thrilled. But at the numbers that we are talking, you really have to question the logic and the consistency in thinking as it relates to the Damon decision last year and lack of interest in Abreu.

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