Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Sunday, August 26, 2007

BASEBALL'S MOST OVERPAID, UNDERACHIEVING PLAYER

With a .262 average, 7 homers, 46 RBI, and a $70 million contract, that's the most polite way to describe JD Drew.

Coming into this season, JD Drew was supposed to be the potent number five the hitter the Red Sox had been lacking the last few years. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz had been consistently carrying far too much of the offensive load and Drew was billed as the answer.

Instead, Drew has been nothing more than an enigma.

Before homering against the White Sox on Sunday, Drew hadn't hit round-tripper since June 20th in Atlanta. His Sunday shot amounted to just the seventh homer of the season for Drew and was his first in 51 games, ending the longest drought of his career. Drew’s homerless streak had reached a mind-boggling 165 at-bats.

To highlight how disappointing Drew has been at the plate, Bobby Kielty -- who had four RBIs on Saturday -- now has more RBIs (6) this month in just 19 at-bats than Drew has (5) in 68 at-bats.

As we approach the end of August, baseball's most overpaid and underachieving player has a grand total of just 46 RBI.

The 31-year-old Drew entered this season as a lifetime .286 hitter, with a career- total of 162 homers and 509 RBIs -- an average of 20 and 64 per year, respectively.

Apparently it didn’t faze Red Sox management that a guy who’d averaged 20 homers annually could be expected to knock in just 64 runs each season. That should have been a red flag indicating that Drew wouldn’t be an adequate five hitter. It’s now clear that he won’t even come close to approaching 20 homers this season. At this point, ten dingers appear to be a pipe dream.

Despite the underwhelming numbers, and the fact that he’d never been an All Star, the Red Sox made Drew one of the highest paid outfielders in the game. His enormous and unjustified contract was predicated on a pretty slim resume.

Sure, last season Drew led the Dodgers with 100 RBIs, 89 walks, 34 doubles, and a .393 OBP. And he also tied Nomar Garciaparra for the team lead with 20 home runs.

But there was another side to that coin. Drew had hit 30 home runs just once. He’d hit .300 only twice. And his 100 RBI for the Dodgers last year were a career high. His best season in the majors came in 2004, with the Atlanta Braves, when he hit .305 (.436 OBP) with 31 home runs and 93 RBIs, and finished sixth in the National League MVP voting.


That's very similar to Trot Nixon's best season (2003), and yet no one offered him $14 million a year. And one of the Sox' primary concerns with Nixon was his frequent injuries and a lack of dependability. While Drew has thus far remained off the DL, he is clearly lacking Nixon's heart, desire, and grit.

But here's the most amazing aspect of the Drew deal; before he signed, no Sox player had been given a contract of longer than four years by the current ownership. And for further comparison, David Ortiz -- arguably the team's MVP -- receives an average salary of $12.5 million annually.

Without question, Drew doesn't even come close to approaching the value of Ortiz, despite the fact he also plays defense. Yet, the Red Sox have invested superstar money in a player who is not a superstar, and who never will be. Did I mention that Drew has never been an All Star?

So far this season, the $70 million man is batting a paltry .262 with a .362 OBP. That amounts to a meager 99 hits with 60 walks. Some are still talking about Drew’s “potential” and hopelessly waiting for him to eventually come around. A Mo Vaughn comeback is about as likely. Drew has been in the majors for nearly a decade. At this point he is what he is: an average player with an out-sized, undeserved, bloated contract.

Here's what I predicted on this site last December, when the Red Sox signed Drew:

"Due to injuries and an underachieving performance, the Red Sox will try to move Drew before this contract is up. But they'll have to eat some of this oversized, bloated deal because a wiser team will see him as the overpaid, damaged goods he is. And at that point, said team will have the Sox over a barrel. Just you wait and see."

The evidence is in. Based not only on his performance this year, but also over the course of his nine-year career, it can now be definitively said that the signing of JD Drew was a grossly over-priced mistake.


Copyright © 2007 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.

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