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."
The boys get into the media and how they cover the Pats. It's not always easy covering Belichick and a team that will not give any substance to reporters, but things could be worse.
The guys discuss the upcoming week for the Patriots with the Bills coming to town.
Curran joins the boys live in studio to discuss the future of the QB position in New England.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim talked to the Sox catcher, who caught 23 strikeouts from Sox pitchers in the extra-inning win in Tampa Bay.
Joe and Tim talk with the Red Sox DH, Big Papi, who provided the only offense for the Sox with a 2-run home run that gave the Red Sox a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays
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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.
Mike Lombardi discussed Bill O'Brien's tough night and Bill Belichick's approach to dealing with injured players.
In the final hour of the show Sean, Gerry and Kirk heard from some drunk callers to the Real Postgame Show and discussed how the Sox fared head to head against the Patriots last night on TV.
In hour three of the show Sean, Gerry and Kirk discussed the Pats win and took calls on Brady vs. Jimmy G.
Patriots DB Duron Harmon joined Glenn, Lou, and Christian. He talked about playing against Brock Osweiler, and the team's mindset at 3-0.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are joined by Mike Florio of ProFootball Talk. He thinks Brady will eventually win out over Garoppolo, and Rex Ryan will be out of a job soon.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian talk about the surging Sox and their new mission of Playoff positioning.
We check in with the playmaker, hall of famer Michael Irvin breaks down the Pats win over the Texans and whether or not he'll be changing those Lombardi trophies.
Dale, Michael and Jerry spend the majority of our show breaking down an amazing win for the Patriots on Thursday night football.
We look at four instances in the NFL in which Bill Belichick earned his 'genius' title for coaching.
Kirk Minihane sits down with the Boston Globes Sports Media Columnist, Chad Finn. Kirk and Chad talk about the long and storied feud between WEEI and the Boston Globe and the ongoing ratings war between WEEI and the Hub.
Kirk and Gerry talk about how the show is going since the departure of John Dennis, how the fill-in hosts have been doing so far, and what they are looking for in a third host.
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After another big win for the Pats on Thursday night, New England rejoices so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson get their thoughts in on the game, the Pats future at Quarterback and the difference between the Patriots organization and everyone else. Then the conversation turns to Fantasy Football featuring the slew of injured Runningbacks and who you need to get and start in their place, including Jerrick McKinnon, Charles Simms and Theo Riddick. The boys wrap it up with a look at solid Starts & Sits from RB to WR to TE. Something for every Fantasy Footballer and Football fan. Make sure you join Jim and Pete on Sunday at 8:00am for the WEEI Fantasy Football Hour.
Lucy Burdge is in to host the second edition of the K&C Recap pod with producers Ken Laird and Chris Curtis, but they don't get far as Kirk Minihane hijacks the program to dish on the show hosts and to blast Curtis.