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Drews Are Never the Answer, Mr. Dombrowski


In terms of the Tigers’ pursuit of Stephen Drew, Han Solo said it best in “Return of the Jedi”:

“I have a really bad feeling about this.”

Chris Hannum wrote a great overview comparison of Jhonny Peralta’s value versus Drew’s, and I wanted to expound on the idea a bit more, because this is an outrageously bad idea.

Oct 6, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Cliff Pennington (2) catches a pop fly while running into shortstop Stephen Drew (5) during the third inning of game one of the 2012 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

For defense, Chris examined UZR/150 and DRS between the two players, but the differences go even further. The first and most important quality for a shortstop playing for Detroit has to be range – they’re covering not just the space a typical shortstop has to cover, but also a bit of third base’s territory due to Miguel Cabrera. Jhonny Peralta’s 2012 OOZ was 49, which was tied for third from last for all starting Major League shortstops. Drew’s was 37, which is the equivalent of an infant in a Power Wheels.

ErrR is a stat that measures the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, determined by the number of errors he makes as compared to an average fielder at that position given the same distribution of balls in play. Peralta sported an ErrR of 3.6 in ’12, and a 7.2 in ’11. Drew? In 2012 his ErrR was 0.4 in 2012, and 2.0 the season before. With DPR, which is double play runs above average, Peralta had Drew beat, 0.0 to -0.2, and that’s taking into account that Peralta played half his games with a rotating cast at second base. Even going with plain ol’ errors, Peralta had 7 in 149 games, and Drew had 8 in 75 games.

Peralta has the edge defensively (never thought I’d type that…), so the Tigers’ interest in Drew must be offensively-based, right? Well, Jhonny had a .145 ISO (Drew – .125), a .239/.305/.384 slash (.223/.309/.348), and a .301 wOBA (.291). So, it must be a right-left hitting difference that favors Drew, right? Peralta – .249/.303/.385 against righties, .214/.309/.383 against lefties. Drew – .234/.329/.368 against righties (where he’s supposed to have an edge), and .198/.260/.302 against lefties, which would actually compound Detroit’s issues against left handed pitching.

One could make the case that OF COURSE Drew’s stats are horrible for 2012 – he was injured! Well, to pull out another quote to reinforce a point, Ron Shandler says that “Health is also a skill.” It happens to be a skill that Drew lacks. He has never played in over 152 games in a season, including playing in 79 last year and 86 the year before. In 2009 he played in 135 games, and unfortunately displays a trait shared by his brother JD wherein a Drew cannot play through a minor injury. On a team where Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth would then get significant playing time at a crucial position, that is not a selling point.

Honestly, I have no idea why Dave Dombrowski would even consider adding Stephen Drew. Maybe sending Peralta to Arizona would be part of a blockbuster that nets Justin Upton, but that seems unlikely. Maybe this is a bluff to make teams with multiple shortstops think that the Tigers already have a plan in place, and then give up their piece more easily. I have no idea. All I know is that sending Peralta away and fitting Drew with an Olde English D is a very bad idea.