Let me first say that I love John Farrell and his no-BS, team-first style. That said it seems to me that he would have done exceptionally poorly on the following pop quiz. See how your answers stack up:
1. Which is a better batting average, .223 or .449?
2. Is it better to strike out 58 times in 184 at-bats, or 13 times in 71 at-bats?
3. You have a choice between a good defender and an amazing defender. Who do you pick?
4. Should the money on a guy’s contract affect whether you play him or not, or should you put your best team on the field every day?
5. If you have a prospect that’s finally showing the skills you’ve been asking for, is it better to give him consistent playing time on a daily basis, or to defer to an aging veteran with a knack for striking out in the clutch?
6. Who should be the Red Sox shortstop: Stephen “Stephanie” Drew, or Jose Iglesias?
Every game that Stephen Drew takes the field instead of Jose Iglesias is a game the Sox are not trying their best to win. It’s abundantly clear at this point that Jose Iglesias is the better of the two players, both defensively and offensively. Even if Drew picks it up at the plate and Iglesias cools off (both are probably inevitable), you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that Drew (.190 against lefties) is the better hitter; most of his home runs have come late in blowouts with nothing on the line. Even if Drew does prove to be a marginally better hitter, which I doubt, Iglesias’s defensive contributions more than outweigh that.
I don’t hate Stephen Drew; he’s a passable shortstop. But Jose Iglesias is more than a passable shortstop; Farrell owes it to the team to play him every day, and the team owes it to Iglesias to give him the playing time he’s earned. Right now, the only thing keeping Drew on the field is his $9.5 mil contract, and last I checked, a contract doesn’t help your batting average too much. The Sox should trade Drew for a utility guy so that he doesn’t complain in the clubhouse about playing time, because if the Sox (best record in the AL, second-best in the bigs) are serious about playing for October, it’s clear who should be Dustin Pedroia’s double play partner.