Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic, in an interview on WEEI's Red Sox Hot Stove show, discussed the Red Sox' recent acquisition of shortstop Stephen Drew, who agreed with the team on a one-year, $9.5 million deal for the 2013 season. Piecoro said that he was a bit surprised at the dollars the Sox conferred upon Drew -- who was a first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2004 and played with them until being traded to the Athletics in August -- but that ultimately, he believes the move is a strong one for the Sox.
"It’s a little higher than I thought," said Piecoro, who suggested that at the start of the offseason he might have expected Drew to receive a deal for roughly $6 million or $7 million a year. "I thought that was a little steep, but nine and a half [million dollars] isn’t what it used to be. I think that it’s a good gamble for the Red Sox."
Piecoro said that Drew never had "a full six months of terrific performance," but that Diamondbacks officials would often remark that they were surprised -- based on the way he was hitting -- that his numbers weren't better than they actually were. Based on his skill set as a shortstop capable of playing average defense while being an above-average hitter, he viewed him as one of the better players at the position in baseball, and suggested that, pre-injury, Drew might have been in line for a considerable free agent contract.
"I always had him somewhere in the top five, maybe top eight shortstops in the game at any given time, even when he was in his so-called down years," said Piecoro. "He takes good at-bats. He always seems to swing at the right pitches. He always gives you the quote-unquote professional at-bat. Even when he’s making outs – it didn’t matter who the GM was, it didn’t matter who the manager was – guys were always like, ‘Man, I’m surprised he’s not having a better year, that his numbers aren’t better than what they are.’ It always felt like he was hitting line drives, like he was hitting the ball at people.
"I always thought he was going to be in line for something along the lines of a four- or five-year deal for maybe $15 million a year. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was five [years] and 75 [million dollars], just because of how hard it is to find a shortstop and how infrequently guys like that hit the open market. And it just always seems like the big market teams are typically in need of that kind of a guy. Even though he never really put together the season or wasn’t the most consistent, there were flashes of that tremendous performance that would make you kind of dream and think, ‘If he were to sustain this for six months, he’d make this much money -- and even if he doesn’t, and even if he’s the guy he’s always been, given how hard it is to [find a shortstop], he’s still going to make that much money.’"
Drew hit just .223 with a .309 OBP, .348 slugging mark and .657 OPS in 79 games last year after returning from a fractured ankle. Still, Piecoro noted that the shortstop had the best line drive rate of his career, and suggested that the numbers weren't an accurate representation of his talent.
"You watch him and you don’t think his numbers should be as bad as they were," said Piecoro. "I think he’s going to be a lot better. You watch him play, you watch his at-bats, from what I saw last year, there’s no reason to think he’s no longer capable of being a good player."
Piecoro also touched on a couple of additional topics.
On the seemingly perpetual rumor mill in which Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton finds himself: "I’ve always thought they’d be kind of nuts to trade him in the first place. I’ve never really understood why his name is out there and what their eagerness is in trying to trade him, but it does seem like it’s there. There must be some motivation from the Diamondbacks perspective to unload him," he said. "Given how motivated they seemingly are to get something of value for him, at any point, I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade happened."
On whether the Diamondbacks might have had interest in Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias before acquiring defensively minded shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds in a three-way trade: "The times that I would bounce Iglesias’ name off of [Diamondbacks officials], I’m not sure they were sold that he could hit. That’s kind of been his rep ever since he signed out of Cuba. ... People say that about Gregorius, too," said Piecoro. "[Kevin Towers] saw Gregorius a lot in the [Arizona] Fall League. I think he was absolutely convinced that there’s more offensive potential in there with the bat. The people I’ve talked to with the Diamondbacks, I don’t feel like they feel that way about Iglesias."
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss the start of Patriots OTAs and the rookies' first taste of the NFL.
We talk to the newest inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame, linebacker Willie McGinest.
Price tells Greg about what is in store for football fans and Patriots fans beyond Deflategate. We will, after all, move on at some point.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton check in with Sox Skipper John Farrell for his weekly chat. John breaks some news about David Ortiz with us.
Former teammate of Lou Merloni and current ESPN analyst Dallas Braden joins the guys to talk about doctoring the ball, cheating in baseball, and the struggling Red Sox.
Joe Castiglione talked to the Sox lefty, who allowed one run in eight innings as the Sox beat the Angels at Fenway.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
Adrian Peterson's twitter rant leaves us wondering which troubled running back we would rather have on our team.
All the latest stories brought to you by Kirk Minihane.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk discuss the Red Sox decision to sit down their slumping slugger.
The three hosts give their best efforts to spell the toughest names in sports.
Christian gives us five topics ranging from the NBA Finals to the FIFA Scandal
Rookie Eduardo Rodriguez pitched 7 and two thirds of shutout baseball in his debut. The guys discuss his performance and the benching of David Ortiz.
Bill Belichick said exactly what you think he'd say about deflategate and the penalties levied on the Patriots: nothing. Michael Holley, Steve Buckley and Greg Dickerson discuss it.
Michael and crew discuss the latest revelations about public funding in the bid for Boston to get the 2024 Olympics.
Michael Holley, Steve Buckley and Greg Dickerson discuss the Red Sox including the benching of David Ortiz, and the debut of rookie pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Planet Mikey Show with Mikey Adams and Chris Villani reacts to the MLB debut of Eduardo Rodriguez and the impact he might have on the Red Sox.
Mikey Adams and Chris Villani discuss Boston Globe columnist Christopher Gasper's piece analyzing why the New England Patriots are hated outside of New England. Beyond just because they win, Villani believes Belichick is the key to sparking rage.
Mikey Adams and Chris Villani discuss the disappointing 21-26 start of the Boston Red Sox and who is most to blame. Also, caller Steve from Fall River sets Villani off with his DeflateGate take.
"Jerry is joined by his friend comedian Nick "Fitzy" Stevens to talk about awesomely cheesy 80s movies, the "Point Break" reboot, why in a world of limitless raunch everyone is so uptight, and a million other topics before they finally get to why everyone hates the Patriots and their fans."
On this edition of the It Is What It Is Cast Chris Price and Mike Petraglia talk about Malcolm Brown at Gillette and the latest news surrounding Tom Brady.
US Prosecutors arrest multiple members of FIFA. Ben, Russ, and Alex dissect what this means for the beautiful game.
Now he is not saying it's as bad as Chicken and Beer, but Lou Merloni thinks there are some team chemistry issues in the Red Sox clubhouse. The guys discuss the potential problems and what can be done to fix it.More from this show
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton discuss Chris Gasper's column about the national hatred towards the Patriots, and why it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show