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."
Dale, Michael and Jerry dig into the details of this draft for the Patriots with ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Giardi and Price discuss the Tom Brady appeal getting overturned and Roger Goodell's victory tour. The guys can't believe the victory lap and some of his behavior. The more you listen to him, the more frustrating his behavior becomes.
Giardi and Price break down how the teams in the AFC East altered their futures after the NFL Draft weekend.
Ian Thomsen of NBA.com joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss to discuss the next moves for Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics with the NBA Draft Lottery rapidly approaching. They discussed the crazy ending to Game 2 of Thunder vs Spurs and picked the player they would build their pretend new franchise around.
Kevin O'Connor of CelticsBlog joined Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for a breakdown of what went wrong in the Celtics series against the Hawks. they then played Celtics free agent tinder and looked ahead to the big moves in store for the offseason.
It wouldn't be a Celtics v Hawks Game 6 preview/Game 5 breakdown without ESPN's Celtics Whisperer Chris Forsberg joining Sam Packard and Jared Weiss for some WEEI Studio magic. They discuss the Hawks' transition dominance on their mega runs and the bizarre night for Isaiah Thomas. Of course they also answered your #WEEICeltics Tweet Bag questions!
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox catcher, whose two-run homer off of Dellin Betances gave the Sox the lead for good over the Yankees.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, after he pitched 7 shutout innings against the Yankees Saturday night.
Red Sox third base/infield coach Brian Butterfield joined Rob Bradford to get his take on Hanley Ramirez, Travis Shaw and Pablo Sandoval. Butterfield, an avid Patriots fan, also predicts who the Pats might take in the second round, while giving a very pointed message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Butch is joined by two-thirds of the Sunday Skate show in DJ and Pete. The guys discuss the problems with Bruins including leadership and grit, who should stay and who should go and if Claude is to blame.
Kirk still can't fathom why Paul or Ken would want to produce the morning show. Some shade is thrown at another potential candidate.
Ted Cruz lost Indiana and gave up his bid for the GOP nomination. Donald Trump didn't exactly bring the heat in his victory speech.
Curt Schilling joined the show to defend himself about his selfish call to OMF yesterday.
Dr. Thomas Gill calls in to give his input on Pablo Sandoval's season ending surgery, and tells the guys how long he thinks the third baseman will be out.
The Celtics are approaching a very important off season, and Danny Ainge needs to figure out a plan to get a star in Boston...most importantly Kevin Durant. Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about who the team needs to go after.
Tom Werner was in studio today and Christian could not hold himself back when Tom Werner mentioned the comedian "Whitney Cummings."
We discuss Pablo's surgery, rumors of weight loss and a renewed focus, and ultimately if the Red Sox will be able to get anything from Pablo, be in on the field or via trade.
We discuss the missed call to close out the Spurs-OKC game last night and it ultimately spins into a conversation about which league does the best job of refereeing their games.
We close out the Dale and Holley show with the best soundbites of the day.
Mikey and Lenny talk Sox and Sandoval
It’s all about the music – the crew touches on Prince, and the greatest bands of all time
Mikey, Christian Arcand, and Chris Villani talk about the Sox horrific loss today, and MJ takes over the text line
This week we are joined by Jon Albanese, manger of Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and talk about golf returning to the Olympics, Tiger Woods and more. We also look back at the Zurich Classic and preview Wells Fargo Championship.
SB Nation's Kevin O'Connor joins Butch Stearns and John Tomase to talk all things Celtics' offseason, including the upcoming draft
Glenn, Lou, and Christian check in with Raffi Melkonian to get his insight on the 2nd Circuit court's decision and what Tom Brady's options are going forward.More from this show
We check in for the national perspective on Tom Brady's reinstated suspension from MMQB/SI's Peter KingMore from this show
Dino, Gerry and Kirk look at the reports surrounding Prince and his drug use.More from this show
Sausage tells the guys that he's moving onto greener (read: more lucrative) pastures. His potential replacement, Paul, is interviewed for the job.More from this show
Glenn, Lou and Christian (and ESPN) react to the news that Tom Brady will be suspended the first 4 games of the 2016 season.More from this show