Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 340: Will Stephen Drew Be Missed?

I've spent most of this winter wondering what was going to happen to poor Stephen Drew and where he was going to land. If you remember, Drew was advised by his douchebag agent, Scott Boras, to turn down Boston's one-year qualifying offer of $14 million. Boras was sure that Drew could land a multi-year deal somewhere else and off they went. Well, the start of the 2014 season is less than a month away and Drew remains unsigned.

Wondering why I'm talking about a guy who's not even on the team? To be honest, I could care less about Stephen Drew. He was never one of my favorites—and maybe that stems from how much I despised his brother, JD. I always felt he didn't belong on this team, never appearing to have the same attitude as the rest of the bearded band of brothers. Sure, he was pretty great in the field and even more so defensively in the postseason, but he was lacking as an offensive player and eked out just six hits in October.

So what? Drew doesn't return to the team and that'll be ok because there's a slick, 21-year-old Aruban waiting in the wings to take that position for himself. In his short time with the Red Sox in 2013, Xander Bogaerts split his time between third base and shortstop. He played just 17 games at the big league level during the regular season but it feels like he's been there forever. Bogaerts was called up in late August, but played such an integral role in both play down the stretch and the postseason that it's hard to imagine him not succeeding this season.

By not signing Stephen Drew, the Red Sox have put their trust in two youngsters to patrol the left side of the infield. Will Middlebrooks, who was born the year I graduated from high school, struggled last year through slumps and even spent some time in Triple-A to deal with his issues. Sure, he's put on 30 pounds of muscle, but will that translate into more consistent hitting and better range in the infield? And Bogaerts, who was born the year I graduated from college (god, I'm old), is having a pretty solid spring so far but if you remember, Jackie Bradley Jr's successful spring in 2013 didn't carry over when the team headed north.

But there's still a few weeks of spring training to go and you never know, some other young infielder could impress the coaches and find themselves trotting out onto the field at Fenway Park on April 4th. I know I run the risk of sounding greedy by saying this, but it would be very cool to see a young phenom make a big name for himself in a Boston uniform this season. Maybe it will be Xander and we'll all be asking, "Stephen who?"

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