Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
I know our economy's in a bit of a rough patch but this is ridiculous.
Here's a stat you probably won't find in the Wall Street Journal. The current unemployment rate of Stephen Drew is 100 percent.
One hundred percent, people! Why aren't we out picketing in the streets right now?
Oh yeah, because the NCAA Tournament is on. Did you see the Mercer game? Crazy, right?
So maybe Drew doesn't have it that bad. He did make $9 million playing for the Red Sox last season en route to winning the World Series. Unless you're Tom Brady and can afford to build a $40 million mansion and never live in it, that's basically a lifetime supply of cash.
But there's much more at stake than Drew's finances. We're talking about one of the better fantasy shortstops not having a job. This is unacceptable!
To be fair, part of this is Drew's fault. He dug his own grave by rejecting Boston's more than fair one-year, $14 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. You don't need an economics degree to realize turning down a $5 million raise is bad business.
The rest, well that's on Scott Boras. All he's done this offseason is negotiate one of his biggest clients right out of a job.
The Boras factor has become something of an epidemic throughout major league baseball. By always holding out for more money, many of his best clients have wound up in unfavorable situations. Michael Bourn had his stolen base total cut in half during his first year in Cleveland, while Barry Zito, though incredibly wealthy now, was never a good fit in San Francisco. Only time will tell if Jacoby Ellsbury, another Boras client, truly belongs in pinstripes.
Sure, Boras isn't the easiest guy to do business with, but at some point, don't we all have to come to our senses? It's preposterous that Dan Uggla, a guy who struck out in 38.2 percent of his at bats last season, is gainfully employed while Drew is at home setting a new high score on Candy Crush.
As hit or miss as Drew has been throughout his career, he certainly has the potential to be a top-ten fantasy shortstop. And by most measures, he was one last season. Drew's OPS (.776) was fourth-best at his position while his 67 RBI (tied for a career-high) ranked fifth. Drew even produced a higher slugging percentage than All-Star starter J.J. Hardy (.444 for Drew, .433 for Hardy).
And keep in mind, Drew accomplished all of this while essentially being in a platoon with Jose Iglesias for the entire first half of the season. Among shortstops with 60 or more RBI in 2013, Drew had the fewest at bats (442).
Another thing we forget to think about is that shortstop is a physically demanding position. For example, Derek Jeter's range has gotten so limited in recent years that he's basically become a part-time player.
Thankfully that's never been an issue for Drew. His slick glove work in 2013 netted him a .984 fielding percentage, third-best among big league shortstops. At age 31, Drew is more than capable of handling a full slate of games.
Just think of what Drew could do with a full workload. If we stretch Drew's 2013 totals over 600 at bats, he would have posted 17 HR, 91 RBI and 77 runs scored. By our calculations, that would make him the eighth-best fantasy shortstop for 2014 right between Jean Segura and Everth Cabrera. Both of those players are going for at least $10 in auction drafts.
The most mind-boggling element of Drew's unemployment is that he'd be a perfect fit for so many clubs. With Jose Iglesias likely out for the season (he has stress fractures in both of his shins), the Tigers are in desperate need of a middle infielder. The Mets, still hurting from the loss of Jose Reyes two years ago, are also thin at shortstop. The Blue Jays have an opening at second base that Drew could be a match for as well.
Out of those choices, Detroit would be the ideal landing spot for Drew. Not only is the lineup potent but with such little competition at shortstop, he would almost have to be an everyday player. Plus, Detroit's Comerica Park had the third-highest park factor last season. Fenway was 20th. Ca-ching.
Drew's no Troy Tulowitzki but his employment rate should be higher than zero. Let's all chip in and help this man get a job ... but after the tournament of course.
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