Grading the Trade of Stephen Drew to the Yankees

Stephen DrewThe final trade for the Boston Red Sox before the deadline sent veteran shortstop Stephen Drew to the New York Yankees in exchange for struggling infielder Kelly Johnson. It was the first time these rivals traded since 1997.

In the deal, the Yankees will pay the rest of the pro-rated contract Drew signed back in late May while the Red Sox get to move Xander Bogaerts back to short.

Drew has been struggling offensively all season, after missing spring training, with a .176 average and just four home runs in 39 games with the Red Sox. The 31-year-old did bolster the middle infield defense, but did not provide any depth to the Red Sox lineup and stunted the growth of Bogaerts at shortstop.

Johnson has been sidelined since July 23 with a strained left groin and should be set to be activated on Thursday after a couple rehab contests on Tuesday and Wednesday. The struggling infielder posted just a .219/.304/.373 slash line in  227 plate appearances with just six homers and 22 RBI for the Yankees while playing the super utility role.

It’s hard to see how Johnson fits into this team with Brock Holt already serving as a super utility guy, but another power bat could be good for this team off the bench.

Overall, this deal gave the Red Sox the chance to press the restart button at shortstop, and give their most talented prospect a chance to regroup and show he can play his natural position. Plus, the Yankees have to eat the money the Red Sox had to pay Drew to get him to sign.

Grade: B+

Bye Bye Stephen Drew!

stephen drewAt the trade deadline this year, the Boston Red Sox did the unspeakable: they did business with the New York Yankees. The last time the two did business together came all the way back in 2010 when New York claimed outfielder Jordan Parraz off waivers from Boston. The last time the two teams came together and made an actual trade was all the way back in 1997. Well, the two came together and Boston sent Stephen Drew—and—cash to New York in exchange for Kelly Johnson. This trade is by far the best trade the Red Sox made.

The overpaid Drew, who earns over $10 million this year, has a slash line of .176/.255/.328 making this the worst season of his career. Not only this, but as the Boston Red Sox starting shortstop, he bumped Xander Bogaerts over to third base. From here, things spiraled out of control and Bogaerts slumped dramatically. Whether or not it came from a confidence kill or not is up for debate, but the rookie owns a .389 OBP as a shortstop and a .217 OBP as a third baseman this year in nearly identical playing time.
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With Drew gone, this opens up a spot at the Major League level. Will Middlebrooks can get another shot to prove he is the third baseman of the future throughout the course of these next two months. This is especially important because this year is a lost cause at this point. In 100 at-bats for the Paw Sox, Middlebrooks has a slash line of .240/.287/.390, but giving him a chance at this point couldn’t hurt.
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The return on Drew was not great, but is an upgrade at the plate nonetheless. Kelly Johnson plays all around the infield, but is currently on the disabled list right now. He owns a slash line of .219/.304/.373 on the year in 77 games for the Bronx Bombers making him a viable option for a utility infielder. Johnson should be back around mid-August and Boston will need to make some sort of a roster move then to balance out the rosters.
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Although this trade failed to make headlines, it was arguably the best trade made at the deadline. It rid Boston of fan-hated Stephen Drew and shipped him off to the rival club. The city of Boston is smiling as they wait and see how New York reacts to Drew and hopes that he makes them as miserable as he made the city of Boston this year.

Welcome to Boston, Kelly Johnson!

Kelly Johnson The New York Yankees swooped in and signed versatile left-handed hitter Kelly Johnson in the off season to a one-year, $2.4 million pact. At the time the deal was made, I’ll admit, I thought it was a steal for the Bronx Bombers. He could play multiple positions, had been above-average offensively throughout his career, and was just three years removed from a 5.4 fWAR season. I believed he was the perfect fit for Boston, and was disappointed they failed to pursue him. Johnson would have provided them with much-needed outfield depth, a steady stick, and insurance for the inconsistent Will Middlebrooks.

But, alas, like I said, he wound up with the Evil Empire instead, and surely would pay dividends for the club. Well, baseball is an unpredictable game, and Johnson with his .219 batting average and 88 wRC+ has been nothing but a miserable failure. To some Yankees fans he’s been the equivalent of Stephen Drew to Red Sox fans — so, yeah, that bad.

Despite my frustrations before the season began, as fate would have it, Kelly Johnson would play in Boston in 2014 after all. Not necessarily the role I had envisioned coming into the year, but he’ll still be able to platoon with Middlebrooks, who’s expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, at third base.

Few suggest a change of scenery may do him some good, and while that might be true to an extent, what really will make a difference for Johnson is his statistics deviating towards his career totals. For example, his .260 BABIP is way off from his career .303 BABIP, and that’ll likely inch closer to his career-mark in the second-half, meaning more balls he puts in play result in a hit instead of an out.

Watching Johnson struggle on both sides of the ball this season makes me hesitant to say he’s the player I originally thought he was. However, I truly believe in his ability and think he could have an impact with Boston.

Nevertheless, he can’t be worse than Stephen Drew was, and for that, I happily say, welcome to Boston, Kelly Johnson!