Well, Stephen Drew's a Yankee again. I know that's not news to any of you, but still, I find it tough to accept. Just over a month ago, it seemed Drew was destined for elsewhere. The Yankees had traded Martin Prado to the Marlins and publicly stated their intentions to let Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela compete for the 2015 second base job, so it looked like a sure thing Drew's short tenure with them was over.
Nonetheless, after Drew signed a one-year, $5 million deal with New York on Wednesday, it isn't, and neither apparently is the Yankees' inability to resist acquiring names. But that's not what I'm going to talk about here, because much as I'd prefer giving a youngster a chance, I don't hate Drew. In fact, I think he's an overall solid guy, and though it's a safe bet he'll struggle at times, I think he'll improve the Yankees. Here are a few reasons to support that, and keep in mind, I don't believe Drew will be a star. I simply expect him to contribute.
1. His Defense: I'll be honest, I know little to nothing about the gloves of Refsnyder and Pirela. I assume they're solid, but are they better than Drew's? Probably not. Drew's been one of the best defensive shortstops in the league for years now, and should only be better next season when he's a second baseman instead. Add on the fact Brendan Ryan and Didi Gregorius are also working the middle infield, and it's clear the Yankees have an alright group.
2. He's Better Than Ryan: Not that Drew's a great hitter, but is it really debatable whether or not he's better than Ryan? Drew's batted .256/.322/.425 in his career and Ryan .234/.295/.314, so the former certainly appears to be superior offensively. Granted, Drew was painful to watch in 2014, but most probably wouldn't be great either when their seasons start in late May. Now maybe you could still argue Ryan's the better defender, but how much is that worth when he's never getting on base? With Drew re-signed, Ryan's role with the Yankees will unquestionably be reduced, so it's necessary the two are compared. And when you do so, Drew is no doubt more likable, mediocre as he may be.
3. He Could Start if Needed: This sort of falls into the same category as the last one, but then again, it's different. Sure, having a good bench available when starters take days off is important, but then what about when starters get hurt? Basically, Drew could play everyday if needed. Yes, I'm aware he likely wouldn't be great at it, and yes, I'm aware he might still have the second base job come April. But in my opinion, he won't, so let's all just agree on the undeniable fact at hand: Drew is capable of starting, Ryan isn't. That kind of stuff matters a lot more than people usually acknowledge.
To put it simply, Drew signing this week won't be remembered for long, but for the year the contract lasts, it will definitely affect the Yankees. I'm one of those who assumes it will positively, and encourage those who don't to give Drew a chance. It's possible he'll struggle, but it's also possible he'll flourish. Let's just see what happens before we make too harsh of judgements.