Yankees Editorial: Like It Or Not, Stephen Drew Is In Tampa


For the first time since 2011, New York Yankees‘ infielder Stephen Drew will be a full participant in spring training. Yes, Drew has already reported to Tampa, along with the Bombers pitchers and catchers. Whether the fans like it or not, Stephen Drew is in Tampa, and he intends to win the starting second base job in the Bronx for 2015.

It was somewhat shocking that the Yankees brought him back to begin with, especially when it appeared that GM Brian Cashman was completely comfortable heading to Tampa with a battle of rookies: Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder attempting to fill the large void left by the departure of Robinson Cano a season ago. Instead, Cashman changed course, re-signed Drew, and quietly hopes he’s the starter when the team breaks camp at the end of March. 

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And why not be excited about Drew? I’ll tell you why! .176 with Boston, .140 with New York. That’s why. Why waste precious at-bats on a 30-something veteran who has most likely peaked, while a pair of talented rookies bide their time? Drew should be utilized in the role he is now best suited for at this point in his career: utility infielder. Cut Brendan Ryan loose, and give Drew that role. He can back up both Didi Gregorius and the winner of the second base job between the rookies.

Are the Yankees really going to give Stephen Drew half a season or more, just like they did with Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson last year, to figure out they made a mistake in bringing him back? It shouldn’t matter that Drew is completely healthy now after missing the 2012 spring with a broken ankle, the 2013 spring training to a concussion after a few at-bats, and all of 2014 because of greed. That’s not the Yankees’ problem, it’s Stephen Drew’s. With Brian Cashman getting the Yankees’ roster younger, while rebuilding what is now a solid farm system, one that is improving every day.

So if Girardi’s hand is forced, and Drew is the starter, it sets back the development of both Pirela and Refsnyder. And if Drew performs as poorly as he did in 2014, by the time the Yankees figure it out, and cut Drew loose or trade him, and promote one of the two rookie back to the big club where they belong, it might just be too late.

Next: Too Much, Too Soon?

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