The Athletics Won’t Pursue Stephen Drew… But They Should


Fans dreaming of a reunion with former flame Stephen Drew may have to put their hopes to rest, as Ken Rosenthal wrote today that the A’s have no plans to pursue the briefly one-time Athletic.  The thought was that the A’s could sign Drew, and move Jed Lowrie to second base full time, where he would likely fare better defensively.  The move wouldn’t necessarily be a statement against the ability of Lowrie, as he had an excellent 2013 season, but a move that would improve the entire lineup and add some crucial, and very recent World Series experience to the roster.

Oct 9, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Stephen Drew (5) throws the ball for the out at first base against the Detroit Tigers during the fourth inning of game three of the 2012 ALDS at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

No longer should the A’s simply have their eyes on just making the playoffs, they need to figure out how to make it, and play deep into October.  This would have been a move that gave some legitimacy to the notion that the A’s are serious about doing just that.

Drew had an unspectacular, but solid 2013 campaign, batting .253/.333/.444 in 501 plate appearances for the champion Boston Red Sox, and his fate in Boston seemed to be sealed by the emergence of top prospect Xander Bogaerts.  Drew, a Scott Boras client, figures to be seeking a three-year deal on the open market, but that demand could start to come down as we move into the month of February.

Of course, if the A’s were to bring in Stephen Drew, that would mean someone would have to be taken off the roster in order to accommodate Drew.  So Eric Sogard, Alberto Callaspo, or new addition Nick Punto would be replaced.  I’m sure most of you would figure I would automatically send Sogard packing, but that isn’t the case.  I would likely want to see the A’s find a taker for Alberto Callaspo.  His $4.875 million salary for the 2014 might be a little steep for a backup infielder, and that money could help the Athletics fit a contract for Drew into the budget.  As for Sogard, I do believe he’s a useful player to have because of his versatility, he just doesn’t strike me as a starting second baseman on a World Series team.

But alas, all the discussion is going for naught, as the team appears to be more than content with Sogard, Callaspo, and Punto manning second base position in 2014.  To me, it seems illogical to be complacent about a position that undoubtedly has room for improvement, but perhaps the team has other things in mind.  Top prospect Addison Russell is growing ever closer to being Major League ready, and maybe the Athletics have visions of him playing a role on the 2014 Athletics much like Xander Bogaerts did for the Red Sox in 2013.

The promotion of Russell would only make sense though if he was truly ready for the big leagues, he’s the kind of prospect you don’t want to rush, as tempting as it might be.  Russell is a potential franchise player, and the Athletics may need to resist the urge to promote him before he’s ready.  Signing a player like Stephen Drew would help the A’s control that urge, and provide some added pop to the middle infield in the process.  Jed Lowrie is a free agent after 2014, and having Drew in the fold, along with Russell in the pipeline would allow the A’s to not worry about his potential departure.

The A’s appear to be going with what they’ve got as Spring Training looms, and hopefully the players who are question marks will be able to step up when they’re needed.