In case there was any doubt in your mind, Brian Cashman stated in an interview on Wednesday that Stephen Drew would "hopefully" be the Yankees starting second baseman. Furthermore, he rounded out the infield as consisting of Chase Headley, Mark Teixeira, and Didi Gregorius. It was pretty clear when they signed Drew that he would be given a starting position, whether it be at second or shortstop, but is that actually beneficial to the team and does he deserve it?
Considering that Drew couldn't have had a worse 2014 season, there is a good case to be made for Pirela starting instead of him. It only makes sense to give Drew the second base job if the Yankees will be willing to swap in Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder if Drew plays poorly. The word on the street is that Refsnyder needs more seasoning at second base before he can break into the majors, and that's fine. Let him get more experience and maybe he can come up in September. That argument doesn't apply to Pirela, though. He started last season in Triple-A and he played phenomenally, hitting .305/.351/.441. It may be a small sample size, but he also hit well in the 25 plate appearances that he made with the Yankees in September (.333/.360/.542 with two triples and a double).
Cashman also said this about Drew: "At very least, he can play multiple positions and he's a helluva defender." Last year's infield was mostly poor defenders and poor hitters. This year, they've certainly improved defensively by re-signing Headley, and trading for Gregorius, but this infield has the potential to be abysmal offensively. With Brendan Ryan already on the team, the infield is sorely lacking power hitters, even if Tex and Brian McCann have bounce back seasons.
Of course there's the argument that they could just cut Drew if he performs terribly, but how many chances would the Yankees give him before they would even consider that? Although Cashman said that "performance or injuries" could change the Yankees infield, I'm not sure how much I trust that. Just look at how long they kept Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano around last season. Roberts was batting .237/.300/.360 with 84 wRC+ when he was finally designated for assignment on July 31st to make room for Drew (who, sadly enough, ended up being a downgrade from Roberts). Even worse, Soriano was batting .221/.244/.367 with 64 wRC+ through 238 plate appearances when they Yankees decided to release him in July. There's also the troubling fact that the Yankees didn't call Pirela up to play second base sooner in the season, even though Drew played so, so badly. If 2014 Drew shows up, the team can't afford to wait until halfway through the season to cut him if they have any hopes of being competitive in the AL East.
Do you think Drew should be the starting second baseman? At what point in the season do you think the Yankees would actually consider designating him for assignment?