Wednesday, January 7, 2015


It is no secret that Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has been a HUGE proponent of anything and anyone that Scott Boras promotes.  Numerous articles have been written in regards to the somewhat weird man-love Heyman has for Boras’s clients.  He consistently provides inside information and written prose that borders on marketing material for anyone represented by the notorious sports agent. 
Such is the case with Stephen Drew.

In the months following the latest disappointing campaign in the Bronx, Heyman has promoted the return of the mannequin-like shortstop-turned-second baseman to the Yankees.  He provided an excuse for Drew’s tee ball caliber performance at the plate in 2014, saying that he didn’t have a Spring Training to build on.  The problem with that theory is the fact that Drew already had 39 games under his belt with the Red Sox by the time he joined the Yankees.  Further dismantling of Heiman’s philosophy was provided by Drew’s performance as the season progressed.  Instead of improving with more games under his belt, Drew’s batting average continued to plummet.
Now, in his proud announcement that the Yankees genius of a General Manager – Brian Cashman – resigned Drew to a deal that could go as high as $6 - $7 million and has $5 million as a base value, Heyman says that in spite of the player’s demise last season, hehit .253 with 13 home runs, 67 RBI and a .777 OPS in helping the Red Sox to a World Series title the year before.”

“…in helping the Red Sox to a World Series title the year before” – yeah, right. 

That’s why the Red Sox not only traded Drew to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson, they added cash to the deal.  What Mr. Heyman fails to point out is that Drew’s average with runners in scoring position over the last three seasons has been: .215, .232, and .190.   He also neglects to inform his readers that the last time Drew played 150 games in a season was 2010.  That’s 5 seasons ago.

Enablers, like Heyman, will joyfully celebrate Drew’s status as a solid fielder.  Yeah, he’s solid, but at second base – where Heyman has concluded is Drew’s position in 2015 – his range factor (4.34) ranked 14th in MLB.   Middle of the pack, nothing more, nothing less.  
So, Brian Cashman, in an effort to undo steps he had taken to make this team more energetic, youthful, and promising,  brought back a veteran player whose best seasons were in the previous decade and who is an average fielder with a pathetic talent at the plate.  Any new found respect I had for our GM is now gone.  He hasn’t changed a bit.
I had actually written an article daring to say that I liked what Brian Cashman was doing for our team.  He had made sound deals to bring in young arms and younger hitters with high ceilings.  In doing so, he went so far as to pronounce that second base would be a competition between two of our up-and-coming stars – Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder.  With a swirl of his poisoned pen, he has undone that hope and shown the true strategy for our minor leaguers;  they are only being developed as trade pawns. 
I feel sorry for any of the everyday players in our system.  Their journey to the “Show” isn’t being blocked by talent ahead of them.  Rather, their primary barrier is our General Manager. 

Stephen Drew might very well be a great guy and teammate, but even Peter Gammons pointed out in Twitter his surprise at how willingly thirsty people in the media (Heyman) are drinking Scott Boras’s Kool-Aid when it comes to the shortstop/second baseman.
It would appear that our General Manager is also filling his cup with what Boras is offering.

I truly thought that our team had turned a corner.  Sure, the youngsters (Gregorius, Pirela, Refsnyder) might stumble a little out of the gate while they get their “sea legs” in the Major Leagues, but would they really be worse than what Drew is going to provide?   What is the purpose of throwing up to $7 million at a guy who won’t play the entire season, won’t hit his weight, and isn’t going to save any games with his play in the field (he’ll make the basic ones, but that’s it).  At what point will the realization hit Cashman that this Yankees lineup can’t afford the addition of an automatic out in the name of making one or two more plays in the field?  This isn’t the 1998 Yankees.  Hell, it’s not the 2010 Yankees for that matter.

Jose Pirela was given the opportunity to join the club last September, and in 24 at-bats he hit .333.  Yes, before the Drew family jumps in to say how that’s a very, very small sample, I merely point that statistic out because during ALL of 2014, Stephen Drew didn’t have a 24 at-bat period where he hit .333. 
Once again, just as the sun was beginning to peek out from the clouds on our franchise, the perfect storm of Scott Boras (the dealer), Jon Heyman (the enabler), and Brian Cashman (the hopeless buyer) has doused its warmth. 

(In Photo: Jose Pirela)
I can only hope that Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder leave no doubt in Manager Joe Girardi’s mind as to who the better players are this spring.  Should they do so, perhaps our owners will open their eyes to the money their GM is flushing down the toilet.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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