When the Sox signed Stephen Drew, many Sox fans were left scratching their heads. Looking at his numbers alone, he was mediocre. He had missed the end of the 2011 season and the beginning of 2012 with a broken ankle. And then there were the reminders of the other Drew, his brother J.D., who fans were never really too keen on.
Drew came into the season two weeks late, after a spring training concussion. Immediately fans were annoyed at the fact that he got the shortstop spot over Jose Iglesias. Iglesias was hot and Drew was, well, not.
But then Drew started to sparkle a bit here and there. There was the May 6 walkoff RBI double against the Minnesota Twins. Another walkoff hit, an RBI single, in the fifteenth inning against the Mariners on July 31. Most recently there was a three-run go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth against the Astros on August 7. And let’s not forget this gem of a play:
The thing is, as much as everyone whined about him, Drew seems to be starting to fit into Boston quite nicely. His .247 average may not be very pretty, but that’s an improvement from when it was sitting in the .220s for much of the season. He comes through in the later innings when more is at stake. And, he plays a very clean game at shortstop.
AP Photo/Steven Senne
“That’s the way I like my shortstops,’’ Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield said to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. “He makes the right decisions. He doesn’t take risks. He does what he feels he can do. He can make a play on the run as well as any shortstop I’ve ever seen. His throws, whether he’s on balance or off balance, are always on the money. I saw him bobble a ball and then throw a guy out the other day and you’re shocked when he doesn’t field a ball cleanly because he’s so consistent. I’m a big fan.”
Drew is not even close to the best player in the MLB, but his consistency makes him so appealing. You look at his numbers, and you know what you’re going to get. And it might not even be a tragedy if the Sox resigned him once his one-year, $9.5 million deal is up after this season.
“Yeah, I’d like to stay here,” said Drew. “But I’m not focusing on that until the end of the season. I’ve enjoyed the way things have gone and the fact I’m trying to help this team. I love this team and the guys on it. I think we all work well together and right now we’re all focused on getting to the playoffs. We have a tough road ahead and I think being all together is going to help us get through that. That’s why I don’t want to talk about next year except to say, I would absolutely love to come back here.”