Stephen Drew is a hot button topic among Yankee fans (and blogs) these days and with good reason. Most people want him designated for assignment because he's taking up valuable real estate in the field and in the lineup when there are seemingly better and more attractive players waiting in the wings at second base.
Right now, Drew is the worst second baseman in the American League and if it weren't for poor Chase Utley stinking up the joint in Philadelphia (.138/.214/.241/.455), Drew would be the worst second baseman in all of baseball.
In Drew's last "full" season (I say full even though it was only 124 games) he batted .253/.333/.443/.777 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI. Last year, through 32 games, Drew was batting .178/.254/.346/.600 with a .168 ISO and this year, through 35 games, Drew is batting .177/.264/.345/.609 with a .168 ISO which is uncanny because the numbers are almost identical.
He's hitting .213/.291/.362/.653 in 15 games at Yankee Stadium, .152/.243/.333/.577 in 20 games on the road and has one home run at home and three on the road. In 2013, he batted .283/.367/.491/.859 at home and .222/.295/.392/.687 on the road. As you can see, playing Fenway Park helped his numbers a lot two years ago.
So why do the Yankees insist on keeping him?
It can't be the money because $5M is merely pocket change for the big, bad Steinbrenners, right? And why does Joe Girardi insist on saying things like, "He really hasn't had a lot of luck." and "I know he's a better hitter than what the average shows."
Maybe he's not anymore?
Before his "strong" season in 2013 with the Sox, his best and most productive season was way back in 2008 when he batted .291/.333/.502/.836 with 21 home runs, 67 RBI and he played in 152 games as Arizona's shortstop. Another thing to keep in mind is that the last time he played in over 150 games for a season was in 2010 - also with the Diamondbacks. He's also had a bad string of injury luck which has limited his playing time since 2010 including a particularly gruesome ankle injury that cut short his 2011 season and affected him into 2012. When he was with the Red Sox in 2013, he had a concussion that kept him from making the start Opening Day and he also had a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three weeks.
Drew is also on the wrong side of 30, having turned 32 in March, and it's unusual for a player to have a resurgence when they're about to enter the "twilight" of their career.
The Yankees recently decided to name Drew as Chase Headley's backup at third base so Alex Rodriguez can be the full-time DH which means it won't be as easy to designate him for assignment. He now has another reason to stick around a bit.
In the meantime, the Yankees have called up Jose Pirela to play some second base and he's hitting 238/.238/.286/.524 in 21 at bats.
Maybe the Yankees feel it's still too early to draw any conclusions about Drew's 2015 season, and maybe it is too small a sample size, but what happens when we get to mid-June and he's still hitting below .200? If the last two seasons' offensive woes have taught this team anything, it's that they probably shouldn't wait too long to make a decision about the lineup that could potentially make or break their season.
[UPDATE: In case you want to keep track of how Stephen Drew is doing, there's an account on Twitter called @isdrewover200. Isn't the internet fantastic? Big thanks to Kenny Ducey for the heads up.]