Wednesday, March 11, 2015

With Stephen Drew, Yankees show (again!) that they have no imagination

Remember that talk this winter that there might actually be a competition at spring training for second base, with Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela competing for the role? Remember how Brian Cashman claims pretty much every year that the Yankees need to get younger and more athletic? Heck, even remember the fact that Cashman signed great-defensive/light-hitting infielder Brendan Ryan to a two-year deal, so that he could fill in at the spot?

Well, forget all that stuff. As I noted yesterday, Stephen Drew has won the starting role at second base. Never mind that he currently has a slash line of .091/.231/.091, while Pirela is hitting .462/.533/.692 and Refsnyder has a slash line of .455/.538/.545. (Ryan has been out with a back strain.) So, yes, Drew is actually doing even worse than he did last season with the Yankees, yet the team is locked into him as the starter at second, even though Drew never played the position until last season.

It is bad enough that the Yankees let Robinson Cano walk away and put their franchise in this position in the first place. I would compare it to letting Darrelle Revis and Jose Reyes go. (Incidentally, Squawker Jon has written about that very issue today.)

It adds insult to the proverbial injury that with a team desperate for a hometown hero, that the Yankees wouldn't allow one of their farmhands a spot at the position. But how can a rookie compete with Drew's illustrious pedigree? Drew is a former Red Sox, he gets injured a lot, he is on the wrong side of 30, and his best days are behind him. Those facts are like catnip to Cashman!

Anyhow, the Daily News' John Harper writes about this situation today, and about the fact that no less than Reggie Jackson thinks that Pirela is the best hitter in the Yankees organization. Cashman completely disagreed with that assessment, snapping:
“That’s wrong,” Cashman said. “Greg Bird’s by far the best hitter (among prospects) in the organization.”
Cashman also said: "Once we brought Drew in, the roster was locked in. There’s no competition in the middle infield" and that while “the baby Bombers are hustling, showing their stuff,” that “the veterans are just getting their work in.”

Yeah, heaven forbid anybody earn their spot on this team from good play in spring training. Know your place, rook. You can't compete with the illustrious Stephen Drew, who earned a $5M 2015 deal (plus $1.5M in incentives) after going .150/.219/.271 (!) last year as a Bomber.

As it looks now, the only way the Yankees will dump Drew is if he ends up in a Brian Roberts situation. Remember how Roberts surprised everyone by staying healthy as a Yankee last year, and being in the position to make bonuses? He had these incentives, as Joel Sherman wrote:
Roberts bonuses: $175G for 250pa, 300pa; $250G for 350pa, 400 pa. $300G for 450pa, 500pa; $350G for 550pa $400G for 600pa, 650 pa
And wouldn't you know it? Roberts was benched, and then designated for assignment, when he came within two plate appearances of reaching the $250G bonus for 350PA. What a weird coincidence!

Drew's plate appearance bonuses don't start kicking in until he reaches 450 PA, though. So unfortunately, we may we be stuck with him until then! Oh, joy.

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