The Boston Globe gets some dirt on the Drew negotiations, which seemed so promising 10 days ago but had since fallen off the radar screen. As we figured, the huge deals from such lesser outfielders as Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews Jr., as well as other lumniaries like Lee and Soriano have boosted Drew’s asking price. Reading between the lines, Drew seems to want 5 years, $60 million, while the Sox seem to agree on price but are haggling over years.
It’s tough to form an opinion on this because Drew has massive potential in each direction — when healthy, he’s one of the best right fielders in baseball, a .300/.400/.500 guy who would either help the BoSox rival the ChiSox for most intimidating 3-4-5 combo in baseball (Thome-Konerko-Dye) or anchor a pretty-darn-good Drew-Ortiz-Pena combo. But he’s never had two consecutive healthy seasons, and he already had one in 2006. There are questions about whether he plays hard, whether he’s a clubhouse cancer, etc.
On the other other hand, his injury in 2005 was a HBP broken hand, and aside from that, he’s been healthy since undergoing knee surgery in 2003 to fix patellar tendinitis that had been bothering him since 2001. He also would improve the outfield defense.
If, as Nick says and I concur, signing Drew means the Sox trade Ramirez, it could result in a Crisp-Pena-Drew outfield, a huge defensive improvement over Ramirez-Crisp-Pena because Crisp and Pena are better fielders in left and center respectively. So there’s a lot to process. And a lot to be optimistic about. But something keeps nagging me that $14M per season over four or five years is an awful lot of money for a guy who seems a pretty good bet to miss significant time at least twice over the course of the contract. And if Manny is gone and Drew goes down with an injury, the Sox’ lineup will be back to where it was in 2006 — and that was not pretty.
It’s not my money, and the possibility of adding a player of Drew’s caliber is exciting, so it’s hard to say I don’t want him on the Sox. I’m still unsure, however, why he and Julio Lugo are such priorities when Mike Timlin remains the only sure pitcher returning to the bullpen next season.