J.D. Drew: Already Hurt

The Boston Herald says that something might be wrong with "Just Durable’s" physical. The Sox aren’t looking to scrap the deal but they might be re-working it a bit to account for Mr. Drew’s mystery ailment.


A recent MRI confirmed that the player the Sox signed to a five year deal is, in fact, J.D. Drew. There is now a chance that the deal will be called off.

So this is the first chapter in the J.D. Drew era. Hmm.

31 comments… add one
  • The Boston Globe, however, actually quotes, you know, sources — rather than merely vomiting speculation onto a computer screen — and says the contracct is being held up because of language detailing a trade clause and awards incentives.
    —->The Sox have yet to officially announce the signing of free agent outfielder J.D. Drew, but his agent, Scott Boras, confirmed yesterday there were just a couple of minor contractual snags. “Theo and I have been so busy,” said Boras, who just wrapped up negotiations with Epstein on Matsuzaka. “Just a couple of language snags, one on a trade clause, the others dealing with performance awards.”

    Paul SF December 16, 2006, 7:47 pm
  • http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=103
    Will Carroll weighs in:
    “Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald got the story first, but I have more details on the specifics of the J.D. Drew physical. Drew took the physical shortly after the announcement of the deal in Orlando, but sources have told me that Drew showed problems in his shoulder that “could shut down his power.” Drew had minor surgery on his shoulder after the 2005 season, so it’s possible that there’s more damage in there. It’s important to note that in free agent acquisitions, a team often does not have the benefit of requesting medical records from his previous team prior to signing. Speculation centers on the damage to Drew’s shoulder being more like Scott Rolen circa 2005. As Massarotti reports, it is more likely that the Red Sox get protection in the form of a very limited escape clause rather than scuttling the deal altogether. Somewhere, Bill Simmons just had someone kick him in the groin.”

    Nick-YF December 16, 2006, 7:51 pm
  • Hmm. Perhaps Massarotti got his info on the same kind of deep background that allowed Edes to write his completely unsourced-yet-seemingly-knowledgeable column. No quotes, no attribution, but good info? Maybe so, but it stinks to have to take someone’s word for the info.

    Paul SF December 16, 2006, 7:57 pm
  • Paul, you suddenly believe everything Scott Boras says?

    Whatever December 16, 2006, 8:05 pm
  • WE: No, but I also don’t trust Tony Massarotti’s unsourced speculation, considering his track record of seemingly wishing doom and despair upon the Red Sox so as to have more fodder. Will Carroll has a better track record, though.

    Paul SF December 16, 2006, 8:10 pm
  • Hitching JD Drew to your team has always been fraught with peril. Nothing means anything yet. I’m sure Boston knew what they were getting into with Drew.

    attackgerbil December 16, 2006, 8:10 pm
  • I’d definitely be cool with a five-year deal that giveas the team an opt-out after two if Drew’s got nothing. As Massarotti notes, that’s worked out pretty well for the Tigers and I-Rod.
    And if Drew’s got nothing, the Sox have Wily Mo Pena. Not a bad Plan B at all, assuming they don’t toss him at DC with Craig Hansen or whomever for Chad Cordero.

    Paul SF December 16, 2006, 8:13 pm
  • Boston isnt trading Craig Hansen for anyone.

    TJ Sox Fan December 16, 2006, 8:18 pm
  • Ah, well, Sox fans can worry about Drew.
    The NY Times is reporting the Yankees and Kei Igawa are close to agreeing on a 5 yr. 20 mil. contract. Figure in the 26 mil. posting fee and it looks like about 9 mil. a year for Igawa. Not too bad in this year’s market.
    Of course, Igawa’s not as highly rated as DMat, but he did have some pretty decent numbers in Japan’s Central League, including an MVP award and 3 strikeout titles. How that will translate into the AL East, well, we’ll see.
    Meanwhile, the Times is also reporting the 3-way between the Braves, the Bucs, and the Yanks, is picking up steam again with the Yanks giving up Melky and getting Mike Gonzalez. Without explaining myself right at the moment, I like this deal, and only hope that Gonzalez is healthy if it happens.

    Whatever December 16, 2006, 8:19 pm
  • Scott Boras told me that, based on his staff’s projections, Drew has a good chance of breaking Ripken’s streak!

    walein December 16, 2006, 8:22 pm
  • WE: At that price, locking in Igawa looks like a good deal Regarding Gonzalez, that’s a tough one for me. I look forward to you explaining the deal, because I don’t see it. I don’t track the Pirates so what I know is just stat-based, but I have a hard time seeing how he helps at the price of giving up Cabrera.

    attackgerbil December 16, 2006, 8:26 pm
  • If the Sox do trade for a closer — and Theo is backpedaling just a bit on that, saying on WEEI that the decision to move Papelbon was based on the condition of his shoulder “at the time” — I agree with the Globe’s speculation that all these moves are allowing them to trade some combination of younger talent for one. Say Nick Debarr plus one or two others?

    Paul SF December 16, 2006, 8:34 pm
  • AG, Only saw him pitch once on DirecTV last year but he looked wicked. Gonzalez is a hard throwing lefty who was 24-24 in saves for the Pirates last year, with a 2.17 ERA, allowing 42 hits in 54 IP, while striking out 64.
    I see him as a nice setup guy for Mo and a possible replacement as closer down the road. He was on the 15 day DL last August with elbow tendinitis, so that’s food for thought, but his medical people say he’s A-OK now.
    As for Melky, I won’t like seeing him go, but the Yanks look set in the OF next year, and I’m not sure Melky is going to be that good in the future. I could be very wrong. We could certainly miss him if somebody goes down, so there is some trepidation in making this deal. But I just feel that the more quality pitching we can get, the better.
    BTW, the Sox reportedly have some interest in Gonzalez also.

    Whatever December 16, 2006, 8:52 pm
  • Nick-YF December 17, 2006, 1:56 pm
  • Doesn’t anyone see what’s happening? They couldn’t move manny, they’re paying $60 million up front to matsuzaka and they simply can’t afford to marry the injury probe drew for 5 years. So, they got buyers remorse and are unloading. If they’d traded manny for peavy, we wouldn’t be hearing this.
    The sox can’t do guns AND butter!

    jeb December 18, 2006, 10:04 pm
  • …this is one for the conspiracy theorists to mull over…if the sox “gave in a bit” on the drew contract in order to insure that boras “delivered” d-mat, have the sox now reneged by using drew’s physical to devalue his contract?…i’m not trying to start anything, just food for thought for those who thought there was some link between the 2 contracts…
    …does anybody have any knowledge of how much power a team has for declaring a player’s physical to be “passed” or “failed”?…

    dc December 19, 2006, 8:34 pm
  • jeb, that’s a neat turn of the phrase, but I think Boston is one of the few teams of the league that can do guns and butter. Much is made of the Yankees’ spending habits, deservedly so, but Boston is a Ship of the Line as well. Of course I speculate, as we all are doing, but there can only think that there is some very real sticking point in what has been discovered regarding Drew’s health.
    dc: I dunno. You ask an interesting question. I thought about it for some time.
    Maybe there could have been some precognition or at least familiar discussion about the process, in that both sides wanted to stay on professional terms that they have already established across multiple contracts, across multiple years, with multiple teams, with multiple management structures. Many of these people have worked together for a long time.
    I say this with their (speculated, I’m outside) prior relationship in mind: I seriously doubt that the negotiations were tied. It’s in nobody’s interest in the long term to dial a singular deal mated that way. It’s not that baseball is above collusion, because that’s already happened more than once and been proven in court. However in the set of players, teams, and agents of which we are talking about, I find it hard to imagine that each party (and there are many interested individuals composing each contingent involved in the multitudinous corners that we are referencing) does not have counsel who have a specific job to root out subterfuge.
    Let’s be hypothetical. If one was to openly posit that two players’ contracts were somehow married (regardless of the awareness of the players involved) one would be accusing affected parties of racketeering. To even levy such a charge, invites libel, but at the dollars involved, if someone is hurt, that charge will fly. Every party involved is certainly protecting their interests in this matter. There can be no misstep, perceived or otherwise, when dealing on this level.
    Of course I’m not a lawyer, I’m not even a gerbil. I find it highly unlikely that any group (no one flies solo at this altitude) involved in negotiation would disregard the interest of the charge of whom they represent and would be unaware of the multiple avenues for being exposed if they were negligent in their obligations to their responsibility and to the legal/fiscal/social ramifications of abdicating their warrant.
    Still, interesting question. We’ll see.

    attackgerbil December 19, 2006, 9:58 pm
  • ag, thanks for the opinion…for what it’s worth, i agree with you that it’s unlikely there is any link…i know the notion came up once or twice on this site as pure speculation by a poster or 2…i don’t think it’s naive to believe that kind of cloak and dagger is reaching a lot…
    i’m actually more interesed in the question about a club’s exclusive say on the pass/fail of a physical…

    dc December 19, 2006, 11:00 pm
  • ha! you guys know where I stand on this issue. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Red Sox had some kind of handshake deal with Boras re: JD Drew, and it definitely helped with the Matsuzuka negotiations.

    Brad December 19, 2006, 11:35 pm
  • but, do you think the sox have reneged?

    dc December 19, 2006, 11:58 pm
  • about a club’s exclusive say on the pass/fail of a physical…
    It would seem to me that any club can have their own doctors decide whether or not a physical has been passed. This all happens before a contract is signed. To me, this is the process: you reach an agreement, you check the player’s health. The deal is contingent on the player being of an expected level of health. If the team doctors find risk, then the deal should be altered or backed-away from. If the team wants a second opinion, and that second opinion deems a player healthy, then the team has to decide the risk factor, and if they still want to make the deal. All this is the norm, right?
    It wouldn’t make sense for a player to take a team physical prior to a deal being agreed to; it has no upside, just downside for the player. It puts all the power in the hands of the team, before any numbers have even been settled. This strikes me as patently unfair to the player. If Drew had taken this physical for the team in advance of or during negotiations, then the offer might have been lower. He was under no obligation to compromise his negotation position. If Drew wanted to voluntarily take a physical before settling on contract terms with the Sox in ink, then he could do that, but I don’t think that would be fair to Drew, either to require this or expect it of him (or any player). Conversely, the Sox are under no obligation to sign a deal without confirming Drew’s health. This seems like a reasonable system, though not without some conflicts, of course.

    SF December 20, 2006, 10:49 am
  • All this is the norm, right?
    Yes I would agree this is the norm. But Drew’s contract was supposedly based on games played and other benchmarks (at least for the later part of the contract). That is not the norm for most contracts but would seem to fit in this instance, when a team is taking a risk on an injury prone player. To me by the structure of the deal the sox knew they were getting an injury risk and were hedging their bets. Granted this does not apply if he is injured to start, but they they dont have to pay him later, so it still has its benefits.

    Seth December 20, 2006, 11:31 am
  • I was referring to the sequential process of negotiation-physical-contract execution, Seth. The norm is that teams and players negotiate, the player takes a physical, and the contract is executed after examination and the results of that physical. Nothing is signed until the team can check out a player’s condition, and the player is under no obligation to take the physical during the negotation process. This seems fair to me.
    With Drew, the Sox negotiated a contract based on a player who was, in their minds, healthy. Or, at the least, healthy enough to warrant the contract they offered. But the physical, as news reports indicate, seem to show otherwise, and therefore the team’s assumptions about his value and the risk associated with that value may have changed. This seems fine to me, on a conceptual basis, at least. Nothing has been executed yet, so there’s time to work it out or walk away. Both sides know this is fair, I think.

    SF December 20, 2006, 11:39 am
  • I would also think that Drew/Boras would be smart enough to get him checked out by a doctor before opting out of a guaranteed contract, knowing, as you said, that its the norm, that he will be checked out. So either Boras was doing a package deal with Drew and Suka or the structed the incentive and long term portions of the contract to remove much of the injury risk.
    What is the status of this anyway. Is drew a red sox?

    Seth December 20, 2006, 12:14 pm
  • If you haven’t heard Drew is a Sox then my guess is he’s not a Sox. The silence on this one is deafening…
    My guess is that the deal ends up being a four year deal, with more money shifted to incentives. Maybe a 4/52M thing with a fifth year vesting option and a few million in incentives. That way Drew still makes more from opting out, but with high upside. I seriously doubt at this point that it will be a 5/70 deal as previously announced. Especially if his shoulder is a bum.

    SF December 20, 2006, 12:23 pm
  • redsox.com is saying the deal could be finalized soon and the introduction to Boston would be immediate upon the signing

    TJ Sox Fan December 20, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • Maybe it was the Red Sox who played Boras (not the other way around as I and a few others have been thinking). They “tampered” with Drew/Boras and cut the deal knowing they will get better Boras treatment re: Matsuzaka, then either dump drew or cut him way back. I am impressed.

    Seth December 20, 2006, 12:49 pm
  • I think this conspiracy-theorizing is fantastical daydreaming. It assumes that a) the Sox are completely dishonest (there’s an opening for you YFs!) and b) Scott Boras is an idiot, and that both of these are true simultaneously. Players get physicals before contracts are signed all the time. “Due diligence” is what it is called, and it is responsible business practice. Nobody objects to this, ever.
    The funniest thing is that this conspiracy theorizing is over a player (JD Drew) who gets tons of crap for being hurt all the time. So why now is his supposedly unstellar health record proof of conspiracy, and not proof of unstellar health?

    SF December 20, 2006, 12:56 pm
  • Because why would anyone opt out of making $11 million per year if they were hurt? Especially when he could have faked injury or dogged it over the next two year then play hard for final year and score another big contract in a market where prices seem to be getting higher not lower.

    Seth December 20, 2006, 1:25 pm
  • Because even with his record, in this market, his agent believed he could get more money. Simple answer.
    In the end, I bet his agent was right.

    SF December 20, 2006, 1:28 pm
  • …thanks for the input guys…i guess my real question though, was not the timing of the physical, but whether the team has sole authority to declare a physical to be “passed or failed”…i understand the sequence of events noted by sf, and it’s logical i suppose, if not somewhat irrelevant, but it seems no more fair to the player to wait until after the contract is signed, then declare the player as “unfit”, expecting a large discount from what was already agreed to, or to simply walk away from it…in my mind, there’s not much difference, and little protection for the player, again assuming it’s the team that can determine one’s “fitness”…either way the team wants a better deal, and i don’t blame them…i’m not saying the sox did this, but i can understand why the conspiracy theorists are starting to sniff around the drew/dm deals…so, back to my original question, other than a second opinion, is there any recourse for a player who feels a team has unfairly declared him unfit so they can use it as leverage in a renegotiation?…

    dc December 21, 2006, 1:42 pm

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