Stephen Drew’s Return To Red Sox Should Be Embraced, Not Second-Guessed

Stephen DrewThe Red Sox are adding a pretty good baseball player. Shouldn’t that be considered a good thing for Boston?

Shortstop Stephen Drew, who signed a one-year, prorated contract with the Red Sox on May 21, joined the club Monday in Cleveland before its nine-game road trip against the Indians, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles. His arrival is something that should be embraced rather than pointed to as an example of buyer’s remorse, as some have suggested.

The Red Sox enter Monday’s contest having won seven in a row. Naturally, some Red Sox fans — many of whom wanted wholesale changes amid the team’s recent 10-game losing streak — would like to keep the status quo, particularly in regards to Xander Bogaerts, who has drastically improved defensively over the last week and a half. But while that ride-the-wave mentality makes sense on the surface, it completely overlooks that the Red Sox are a more complete team with Drew. It’s why they signed him, and it’s why the whole idea that the Red Sox suddenly are kicking themselves for tossing roughly $10 million at the 31-year-old shortstop is silly.

For one, isn’t it possible Bogaerts used the Drew signing as even more motivation to bring his game to the next level? The 21-year-old already was enjoying a solid rookie campaign, but it’s interesting that his recent stretch of dominance and defensive improvement has coincided with Drew rejoining the organization. If the move did toss another chip on Bogaerts’ shoulder, that, itself, is worth $10 million.

Since we can’t fully invade Bogaerts’ inner psyche, however, we must deal with the facts. And the most glaring fact is that the Red Sox are banged up and could use all of the good baseball players they can get. It’s that simple. Don’t let a seven-game win streak cloud that vision.

Brock Holt, who has reached legend status over the last week, is going to remain in the Red Sox’s lineup for the time being. He’ll see the bulk of his work at first base — now that Mike Carp is on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured right foot — until Mike Napoli returns, likely Sunday against the Tigers. The stretch should allow the Red Sox to see whether Holt is a legitimate everyday option, or if this impressive stretch in which he’s hitting .375 (21-for-56) over his last 13 games is a mirage. Sure, you’d like to believe the former, especially given his importance of late, but don’t rule out the latter. It’s a long season.

Those worried that a position change somehow will permanently scar Bogaerts — like he’ll forget how to play shortstop when he returns to the position, presumably in 2015 — can take solace in the fact that him at third base and Drew at shortstop represents, hands-down, the best defensive combination the Red Sox are capable of fielding on the left side of the infield right now. It’s probably also the most potent offensive tandem, regardless of Holt’s feel-good breakthrough and/or Will Middlebrooks’ untapped potential. And if Holt continues to perform at a high level, nothing says we won’t see him in the outfield or somewhere else. After all, baseball is a fluid game, as this season has proved.

Don’t complain. Just embrace.

Yardbarker

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