J.D. Drew admits that there are a lot of similarities between he and his brother, Stephen, who reportedly inked a one-year deal with the Red Sox on Monday. However, he also understands the two differ in plenty of ways.
“The thing is, Stephen is not nearly as guarded as I am,” J.D. told WEEI.com. “He’s more outgoing. He may even come across that way to me because, you know, reflecting a lot of what I went through when I came out of college. … I came under a bunch of scrutiny before I even stepped into a major league uniform and I hadn’t even done anything. … I took a bunch of heat. Stephen’s benefited from some of the stuff that I went through. A lot of guys have.”
J.D. Drew, of course, arrived in the majors amidst lofty expectations. He was drafted fifth overall by the Cardinals in 1998, and was viewed as a five-tool player with Herculean power. While he never became the superstar many expected him to become, he did carve out a successful career, with the last five years coming in Boston.
Stephen Drew, who is eight years younger than J.D., will reportedly now have his chance to make an impact in Beantown. And while J.D. doesn’t expect his kid bro to be too emotional on the field, he knows the shortstop probably won’t put up the same wall that fans often criticized J.D. for putting up during his Boston tenure.
“You know, I put my walls up early. Stephen’s going to be a little bit less guarded,” J.D. reportedly said. “I think he’s a real laid-back personality. You’re not going to see a lot of helmet-throwing, bat-slamming’ unfortunately, that’s what seems the people in Boston like. … We treat ourselves a lot like role models, I think Stephen, he’s following that same thing.”
Stephen will join the Red Sox on the heels of back-to-back injury plagued seasons. He played just 79 games last season and 86 games in 2011. Despite the missed time, though, J.D. doesn’t agree with the notion that his brother is injury prone.
“My only thought for Stephen is he is his own player and his own person,” J.D. reportedly said. “What aggravates me is that he’s been kind of lumped into an injury-prone kind of deal. Stephen’s never been injury-prone. This guy has played 150 games a year for most of his career until he breaks his leg in half.
“I think he’s going to come back with a really nice season, and you’ve got to understand what made me more frustrated is Arizona throwing him under the bus like he hadn’t given them anything over a four- or five-year career. He’d been a great, incredible shortstop, playing solid defense up the middle. I don’t worry about the battles for Stephen. He can iron that stuff out and I think it’ll probably motivate him a little bit more than playing in a small market like Arizona.”
Stephen spent his first six-plus seasons with the Diamondbacks before getting dealt to the A’s in August. Oakland didn’t pick up his option, though, and that allowed the 29-year-old to hit the open market.
Many view Stephen as a stopgap for the Red Sox while the team’s younger shortstops, Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts, further develop. But even if that’s the case, and Stephen only spends one season in a Sox uniform, J.D. is confident that playing in a big market in Boston could bring his brother’s game to the next level.
Stephen Drew photo (left) via Flickr/CEBImagery.com