Playing the Blame Game: The Stephen Drew Edition

Stephen drewWell, folks, it’s official.

Through 16 plate appearances, the Stephen Drew signing is being deemed an utter failure. So, obviously, now would be the appropriate time to play the childish blame game. Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons believes media manipulation is culpable for the panic-signing of Drew.

Fellow media member and Boston.com and Boston Globe writer Eric Wilbur sees it entirely different. On Tuesday, he wrote an article titled “Blame Cherington, Not Media, For the Red Sox Signing Stephen Drew.” The following quote from the column pretty much sums up the point he was trying to convey.

 “It does beg the question as to exactly who is pulling the strings, and if it is indeed Boras in Cherington’s head, then shame on the Red Sox. Don’t blame the media for this blunder.”

While I do have the utmost respect for both Gammons and Wilbur, both are very wrong with their accusations. It’s not the media or Cherington who should be at fault for this “terrible” signing. No, who is really responsible for the Stephen Drew signing are the players. In particular, Will Middlebrooks and Jonathan Herrera.

When Middlebrooks isn’t on the disabled list, he’s not exactly lighting it up with a paltry .197/.305/.324 clip. Concerns surrounding the third base prospect didn’t start this year. It began in 2013 when a combination of lackluster plate discipline and shoddy defense resulted in a demotion to Pawtucket for Middlebrooks. His offensive aptitude — notably in the power department — has been his saving grace. However, his other tools have been overshadowing the past two seasons. And with him unable to stay consistent and on the field, it forced Herrera to start on a regular basis.

At the juncture Drew was signed, which was May 20th, Herrera was batting just .184 with an abysmal .479 OPS. Those offensive numbers weren’t going to suffice on an already struggling lineup.

So, they tried external (Ryan Roberts) and internal (Brock Holt) options to play third regularly. As fate would have it, Holt would become an instant sensation.

Everyone continues to cite Holt’s emergence as a superstar to debase the logic behind the decision to sign Drew, but how the hell could you be sold on a guy who compiled a .636 OPS in Triple A last season? Sorry, but no front office in baseball would be. That said, he’s totally changed the masses opinion about him with his stupendous efforts on the field.

Hindsight is 20/20, and with no sensible options to improve the outfield, this made an abundance of sense during that period of time. Further, he’s been up to the plate 16 times! You’re legitimately going to judge the effectiveness of a decision based on such a small sample size? Had Jonathan Herrera and Will Middlebrooks just done their job, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

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