Rumor: Yankees interested in shortstop Stephen Drew

The Yankees are one of a few teams that are interested in free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Heyman notes that the Yankees don’t see Drew as a potential replacement for Derek Jeter, who might not be ready to start the season because of his ankle injury. Instead they would use Drew as a utility infielder — a replacement for Jayson Nix in a sense. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Heyman that he expects Jeter to be ready to start the season which goes against what Joe Girardi said last week.

“I’m not looking to replace Derek Jeter,” told Heyman. “He’ll be playing every day for the whole year…I fully expect him to be ready,”

The Yankees will have some competition for Drew though. Heyman lists the Tigers and Red Sox as other potential suitors and suggests that Drew could even win the Sox starting shortstop job.

Back in 2006, Drew was the No. 5 prospect in the MLB by Baseball America and never really lived up to his expectation. He has become a somewhat solid backup though despite teh fact that he is coming off one of the worst seasons in his career where he hit just .223/.309/.348 in 79 games with the Diamondbacks and Athletics. He is the owner of a solid career line of .265/.328/.433 which is good for a 96 OPS+, solid numbers for a backup.

The one thing about Drew being a utility infielder is that he’s never played any other position other than shortstop during his entire career. He isn’t even an especially strong shortstop having posted seasons where he had a negative-15.8 and negative-12.3 UZR’s. This past season he was a negative-5.2.

Drew did manage to post a 5.1 WAR back in 2010 though. That was a comination of a career year both in the plate and in the field where he finished with a positive-8.7 UZR. He has a combined 1.9 WAR in the two seasons since, but perhaps Cashman sees him as a bounce back candidate.

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5 Responses to Rumor: Yankees interested in shortstop Stephen Drew

  1. chiggie says:

    I like it Cash.

  2. Tanned Tom says:

    What's wrong with Nunez and Mustelier as left side of the infield backups?

    • Cashman likes to pile up players so he has plenty of depth. It's a strategy that has really worked out well over the last 2 years, but it does tend to block borderline prospects.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        Exactly. Not every player starts out as a can't-miss prospect like Derek Jeter. More of them start out lightly regarded, like Cano or Gardner. The difference for one year or two between an established major leaguer like Drew and a prospect like Nunez is marginally in favor of the established player. But the slight trade off in performance for 2013 is more than offset by the long term potential for a player like Nunez.

  3. Mike says:

    I just don't get it. Nix did good job as a bench fill-in. Why dump him in favor of a player who has no experience at 2nd or 3rd? Since Nix will not cost that much it makes no sense.