In the wake of our discussion of stupid baseball contracts this offseason, the Red Sox have gone and made the stupidest.
They're going to wind up taking a giant step down from Manny Ramirez to J.D. Drew, and they're paying $70M to do it. They say they'll use Drew to protect Manny in the lineup, but that's not going to be the case when they ship Manny out of town.
Drew's missed an average of 55 games a year. He played the most games of his career last year, 146, and still only hit 20 home runs with 140 hits. Of course, when an injury-prone guy inexplicably stays healthy through a season and plays a lot of games, he's a prime candidate for a major injury the next year. The last time Drew played that much (145 games in 2004) he followed it up with 72 in '05. The city of Boston is going to have a field day ragging on him.
And how will he respond? Jerry Crasnick wonders how Drew's rural upbringing will clash with his Boston surroundings, speculating on whether or not he'l be able to handle it. It's Insider Only, unfortunately. But here's a morsel.
For sure, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is risking his own future on a five-tool player with one 500 at-bat season in eight years. Nothing seems more bizarre than the prospect of J.D. Drew, the man that Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin recently called "Superwuss," overhauling his image in Boston. But that's where the storyline has left us.
"This could be a great positive for J.D. Drew's career, or it could be a catastrophe," said a National League executive at the winter meetings. "It all depends on how he responds."
The Red Sox's World Series was built on smart personnel decisions and a little bit of luck. Since then, they've done everything all wrong.