The time is now for the Yankees to sign Stephen Drew

plz - Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The infield (to no one's surprise) is in shambles, so it's time for reinforcements.

It was incredibly strange that, at one point, the 2013 Yankee infield had Luis Cruz, Eduardo Nunez, and Lyle Overbay (albeit with Robinson Cano). That was disastrous for a time. It's even weirder that the current Yankee infield consists of Kelly Johnson, Yangervis Solarte, Dean Anna, and (soon) Scott Sizemore. While certainly the second lot is much better than the revolving door that was 2013, it's certainly not at all pretty. Solarte has earned his spot on the roster for the time being (162 wRC+) and so has Kelly Johnson (161 wRC+), but these performances cannot be expected to be maintained. A big problem with the construction of the 2013 roster was that players who were serviceable as part-timers became full-time players. This allowed them to tire, to expose their weaknesses, and allowed opposing teams to adjust their pitching and defensive styles.

But even though I'm hoping that this year is different, it's starting to look like much of the same. With Mark Teixeira and Brendan Ryan on the Disabled List, and with Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts listed as day-to-day, the Yankees have virtually no depth in the infield anymore. No one truly expected Jeter to play every day and no one expected Roberts to last long without getting hurt, but it's been just 13 games. As research has shown, the best indicator of future disabled list stints is prior disabled stints, so that means with each injury, the likes of Teixeira, Roberts, and Jeter become even more prone to injuries in the future.

So, what is there to do? I proposed at one point the Yankees try to pawn off one of their many catchers for a little middle-infield help, but either teams thought that the likes of Francisco Cervelli or John Ryan Murphy not good enough a return for their middle-infielders, or the Yankees were just unwilling to trade from their depth. One thing is clear, though--the Yankees will have to go outside of their organization to get middle-infield help. If the Yankees cannot or are unwilling to trade, then there is only one answer: Stephen Drew.

Many across the internet have clamored for the signing of Stephen Drew, but it's becoming more and more apparent how necessary it is with every passing day. Going by current FanGraphs depth chart projections, the Yankees are currently looking at a total of 6.8 fWAR coming out of their infield this season. That's only 0.8 more than Robinson Cano in 2013. Stephen Drew certainly would not completely alleviate that, but it would go a long way towards that end. The biggest improvement is depth. The Yankees did a very good job in the offseason picking up backup infield pieces: Sizemore, Solarte, and Anna, but none of them are really good enough to crack the "starting level' threshold. While some would argue that Drew is not even good enough to crack that, I'd say he's close enough to be worth the money. Steamer, Oliver, and ZiPS projections project Drew to be between 1.5 and 1.8 fWAR over the course of ~140 games, which is right around starting level quality. That would also make him the most competent infielder on the team next to Teixeira. This would allow Anna and Sizemore to remain as competent backup options (I'd hope Solarte would remain in the lineup) that could still hold the fort down in Drew's stead. This addition would probably add approximately one win, marginally speaking, to the current team. And while this wouldn't necessarily guarantee them a playoff spot, it would put them exactly even with the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers in depth chart fWAR projections.

If the Yankees are concerned that their brand depends on a postseason appearance, then the signing of Stephen Drew is very important. Obviously, though, Scott Boras knows this. He knows full well how much the Yankees are in need of an infielder, and he also knows the price the Yankees are always willing to pay when push comes to shove. But even if the Yankees negotiated a two-year contract, they would not only increase their probability of entering the postseason, but would not have to worry about signing a shortstop for the 2015 season. The Yankees have come a long way to putting together a nearly playoff contending team, but they're still not there yet. Stephen Drew would get them closer to that.

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