Sunday, July 08, 2007

J.D. Drew For Five More Years?...Yessah!

"So you're in a relationship with a woman you don't like, and you're having an affair with a woman who won't have sex with you."
"This isn't going well."


Julio Lugo's average? No, he's at .197, but close. This is J.D. Drew's average with two outs and runners in scoring position. That's great for the #5 batter on the best team in the major leagues . In fact, let's look at the #5 hitters from the top-10 teams record-wise:

Boston J.D. Drew .204
Detroit Carlos Guillen .341
LA Angels Gary Matthews .238
Cleveland Jhonny Peralta .317
Seattle Jose Guillen .289
San Diego Milton Bradley .263
Milwaukee Johnny Estrada .282
NY Mets Carlos Delgado .205
LA Dodgers Nomar Garciaparra .400
Atlanta Brian McCann .282

Good stuff. Had it not have been for Carlos Delgado, Drew would have been alone as the laughing stock of this group. I just get so frustrated when talking about this guy, and the reason is because myself, and the vast majority of Red Sox Nation, saw this coming. We knew that this was going to be a guy who would not be reliable at all in terms of production and in even being able to play a full season, yet, we were hoping that he would prove all us cynics wrong and come through with a season worthy of his insane contract, but instead, he's lived up to our expectations of being a gigantic disappointment. Another thing: I've had enough about the "adjustment" to be playing in Fenway. You're a major leaguer! When you come into Boston, for the most part, the new players are given the benefit of the doubt, and the fans rally behind them. Even in J.D. Drew's case, the fans laid off of him for his first two or three weeks, and once it was clear that he couldn't hack it, they eventually got all over him like I have been doing for the last seven months. The media is no excuse either. Hey, if you don't want to hear or read about any negativity, don't read the papers, don't watch the local sports report, and don't listen to WEEI. How hard is that to do? You know those reporters that show up after the game? Guess what? You don't have to talk to them! Jim Rice didn't talk to them, and sure, it's probably kept him out of the Hall of Fame, but it didn't stop him from leading the AL in homers three times, winning the MVP in '78, and becoming one of the most beloved players in Red Sox history. The reason why everyone is on this guy's back is because you know he can produce better than this. The stats from prior years don't lie, but the fact is that Drew has basically been an anti-Red Sox guy his entire career. First, it started when he refused to sign with the Phillies after he was picked second overall in the '97 Draft because he refused to sign for less than $10 million guaranteed. From '98-'03 while playing with the Cardinals, he eventually wound up on the DL in each of those six seasons. Finally, he opted out of his contract with the Dodgers, took a ton of money from the Sox, and decided that an easy way to stay healthy was to become completely unaggressive in his approach to playing, which in turn has led to Drew sucking it up completely this year. This is almost like when Jason Alexander came out with the show "Bob Patterson." You knew that it was going to be a train wreck, but yet, when you saw him on the TV, it was like "I remember this guy being great at one point, and even though this show will likely bust (which it did in five episodes), I'm going to root for it to be a hit." Maybe even like the Vin Baker signing. You know it's going to be bad, yet you hope that you're wrong, only to see your first instincts to become reality. Who is going to take this guy now? That is the real question we have to ask ourselves now. I mean Drew at least is hitting around .250, so people will at least listen to a trade offer for him. Julio Lugo?...forget it. We're stuck with that guy and that's it. Here's what I have so far for a potential trade this off-season:

From Boston to Chicago (AL):
  • J.D. Drew
  • Michael Bowden
  • $2 million/year
From Chicago to Boston
  • Jon Garland
Ok, let's think about this for a second: The White Sox are going to be in need of a right fielder once Jermaine Dye signs a mega-deal somewhere else. Now Drew has a mega-deal, but, in this trade, the Sox would relieve the White Sox of $2 million each year for the next four years, a la Edgar Renteria. Plus, they would be getting one of the best prospects from the Sox farm team in Bowden. Garland is due $12 million in 2008, and then he becomes a free agent. The Sox will have the ability to lock him up for three or four years at that point. Garland will be 28 at the beginning of the '08 season, so he still has plenty of juice left in his arm. Also, when you consider two of the Sox five starters are likely to be off the team in the next year or two (Schill and Wake), the Sox will be in the market for a front-of-the-line starting pitcher. While Bowden may eventually pan out, the Sox need help right now, and Garland will be a very nice option at #3. This is almost like the Beckett-Lowell/Ramirez trade last year. The Sox needed that young pitcher they could rely on, and they felt like even though Hanley would be a good pro (turns out he's been excellent), the help Beckett would provide would be more "worthwhile" than Ramirez. In conclusion, that's a hypothetical trade, but right now, I would do anything to get Drew off this team. When he leaves, there would obviously be a void in right, but I think if they sign Ichiro, he would be able to fill that void very nicely...actually, I don't even care if they don't have a replacement in mind, just get this guy off the team, I'm begging you.

Earlier this week, Magglio Ordonez and Vladimir Guerrero decided to enter the Home Run Derby scheduled for Monday night. Now, call me crazy, but given the track record for guys who enter this competition, why would two guys who are leading the AL MVP race enter this? This event isn't nearly close to what it used to be. In fact, this is almost a parallel to the Slam Dunk contest in that, back in the day, anyone who was anyone, Jordan, Dominique, guys who were the best in the game, participated. Remember the '99 Home Run Derby at Fenway? McGwire, Sosa, Griffey, they were all there. Now, the "best" are starting to shy away from it because of what has happened to guys like Giambi and Berkman in the second half after they put on record performances in the derby. Bonds dropped out, and the same goes with Griffey. Although the field is very good this year (Pujols, Fielder, Rios, Ordonez, Morneau, Guerrero, and defending champion Ryan Howard), expect the same kind of thing to happen in baseball as it did in the NBA. More pure hitters like Guerrero and Pujols will not participate because the contest will throw off their game for the stretch run. The derby will end up being a place for pure power hitters and not the all-around type. I think there will be a lot fewer guys like Pujols and Ordonez and more guys like Carlos Pena and Adam Dunn. Anyway, my official prediction is that Ryan Howard will repeat as champion because of three things: 1.) He's a genetic freak of nature, meaning he has the stamina to keep a good pace for the entire contest, just like he did last year. Speaking of which, 2.) He's been in the contest before. Only two others, Guerrero in '00 and Pujols in '03, have been in these before, and finally, 3.) Howard is on a home run tear right now, and it looks like he's found his stroke just in time to defend his crown. As far as the All-Star game itself, shockingly, I'm going to say the NL will finally break the AL's dominance stemming back ten years (there was a tie in '02...still, 9-0-1 is a good run). To me, I just feel like the NL has more coming off the bench this year than the AL. I mean Albert Pujols, the game's best pure hitter, is a reserve! I think the pitchers will keep the scoring down to under double-digits for both teams. Also, the NL players have a lot more experience at AT&T Park, where the dimensions and the climate are...well, a little screwy.

So I'm thinking about doing some NFL previews shortly, and along with that, the fantasy preview will be up. I hope everyone out there is doing great, and that all are in good spirits. Have a good one. Peace.


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