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."
Greg and Chris talk more offseason happenings with the Pats and their plans. They talk about some of the free agents toward the bottom of the list with Stevan Ridley and Dan Connolly. Price thinks that Connolly could end up back with the Pats and Ridley elsewhere (Cowboys?), but Greg thinks they both could be back. They also chat about the departure of VInce Wilfork and what he meant to the organization, the re-signing of McCourty and more.
The very first airing of the offseason edition of NFL Sunday gets underway with Greg and Chris delving into the free agency period and how the Pats made out. Of course they lost Revis to the Jets, but what else went on? Greg isn't over the loss of Revis yet and the guys discuss what went into that whole ordeal. Price is looking forward to the additions of Chandler and Cadet. They also get a call from Mike Petraglia and get his thoughts on the Pats offseason moves.
We talk to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News about his column today which basically accuses the Patriots of sour grapes for asking the league to enforce their own rules against tampering.
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.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase kick off this weeks show by talking to Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly about his biceps recovery, getting ready for the season and his NCAA brackets. They then talk about the Red Sox depth at closer with Koji Uehara questionable for the start of the season.
Jack Edwards of NESN joins Dale, Michael and Jerry. With 9 games left the Bruins don't have much if any margin of error, and Jack knows it.
DJ, Joe and Pete talk more playoff scenarios in hour 2 and if the Bruins can get in, they'll be a very dangerous team... to the point where DJ thinks teams would much rather face the Senators and are doing their best to oust the Bruins from the equation. It's become apparent now more than ever that Chiarelli probably needed to pull the trigger on a deal for a defenseman at the trade deadline. Also. Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun joins the boys to discuss the Hamburglar and the Senators and Bruins being neck-and-neck for a playoff spot.
With the Senators hot on the tail of the Bruins for a spot in the playoffs, Bruce Garrioch from the Ottawa Sun calls into Sunday Skate. He talks about "the Hamburglar" craze sweeping through the league as goalie Andrew Hammond has really stepped up for Ottawa. They discuss playoff chances, the fans' reaction in Ottawa and more.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed Darrelle Revis' comments on his contract offer from the Patriots.
The guys opened the show by discussing the rumored profanity laced tirade by Bill Belichick.
Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the show to talk about the struggling Bruins, the play of Zdeno Chara, and the future of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York joined the show to talk about the ongoing tampering scandals between the Jets and the Patriots.
Christian does not impress the high school girls hockey team.
Dale and Michael discuss the collective egg laid by the Celtics against the Heat, and how the Bruins turnaround better begin tonight if they want it to begin at all.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound and more...
We discuss Shane Victorino's call-out of another local radio show, and debate the merits of Victorino's claims.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin and College Hockey News’ Adam Wodon preview this year’s NCAA regionals and take a look at the chances for each of the Boston-area teams in the field. They also discuss BU’s Jack Eichel, Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey and the Hobey Baker Award.
We discuss the annual joke that is the New York Jets, and their latest Jets-like move. Plus how on earth could you possibly choose to be a Jets fan.More from this show
Things are getting silly in the AFC East, as reports came out late last night the Jets have turned around and essentially accused the Patriots of counter-tampering.More from this show