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Free Agent Profile: JD Drew

JD Drew

JD Drew’s free agency is different from that of all the other players on the market this offeason in that his contract with the Dodgers did not expire, he opted out of it.  This free agent class, as you’ve probably heard, is disappointing to say the least, but Drew’s presence improves it considerably.  He opted out of a 5-year contract with LA on which there were 3 years remaining and $33 million to be made; that’s a sign that JD Drew and his agent feel that the veteran outfielder can earn much more by testing the free agent waters.  Can he and is he worth it?  Well, here are his stats to help you figure it out. 

First the base numbers on JD Drew…

  • Batting Average: .283
  • On-Base Percentage: .393 — excellent
  • Slugging Percentage: .498
  • OPS: .891
  • Doubles: 34
  • Triples: 6
  • Homeruns: 20
  • RBI: 100
  • Runs: 84
  • Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing: 2/3
  • Walks: 89 — very good
  • Strikeouts: 106 — not so good

JD Drew is a fine hitter who can get the job done in many ways.  His OBP is very solid and his 89 walks show Drew’s excellent eye at the plate.  For more evidence of that, here are his situational numbers…

  • Bases Empty: .278/.379/.510
  • Runners On: .289/.406/.486
  • RISP: .297/.421/.480
  • RISP w/2 outs: .279/.437/.471
  • Bases Loaded: .333/.400/.600

Drew thrives with runners on-base, but he’s no joke with the bases empty either.  The .421 OBP with RISP and .437 OBP with RISP and 2-out are particularly excellent. 

More stats?  What the heck, here are Drew’s split statistics…

  • Vs. Lefties: .244/.338/.378 — he’s a southpaw’s best friend (just 9 extra-base hits)
  • Vs. Righties: .296/.410/.536 — and a northpaw’s worst nightmare (17HR)
  • Home (Dodgers Stadium): .299/.424/.548 — home sweet home…
  • Away: .269/.361/.451 — …yep…
  • Day Games: .286/.377/.511
  • Night Games: .283/.399/.451

There are definitely some situations in which JD Drew does his best work and others in which he struggles.  Right-handed pitchers have their hands full against him, but lefties would prefer facing Drew to some of the other premier hitters available on the market.  Drew is spectacular at Dodgers Stadium but not so good on the road.  But that’s true of almost any great hitter not named Albert Pujols.  In other words, JD Drew is as good as any hitter available this offseason and that’ll make him a popular choice among GM’s needing to fill an outfield hole. 

JD Drew is especially valuable because he can play centerfield, in addition to either of the corners (though he has much more experience in right).  Drew’s power and excellent situational hitting set him apart from just about any centerfielder in baseball other than Carlos Beltran.  His bat is also plenty good enough for a starting corner-outfield job.  Defensively, Drew is far from a liability, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s a top-tier fielder.  His arm isn’t bad and his range is decent as well, but he’s far behind Beltran in defensive ability.  Beltran however, isn’t on the free agent market, and Drew, who is said to be in search of Beltran-like money (7years 110+ Million) might very well get it. 

Who is willing to fork over that much dough for JD Drew?

Quite a few teams, I think.  Drew’s potential suitors include the LA Angels of Anaheim (that’s a short move!), Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs.  Each of those teams has a hole to fill in the outfield and could use some more pop in the middle of their lineup; both issues can be ably solved by adding JD Drew.  Money might take the Cubs out of the JD Drew race, and the White Sox could run into the same troubles, with the Angels and Red Sox both having plenty of cash to throw around.  So where will Drew go and how will he do?…

My prediction: JD Drew will sign a 5year deal worth 70Million with the LA Angels of Anaheim. 

Stats prediction: Drew will fare about the same as he did in 2006, which isn’t half-bad.  He’ll hit around .285 with 24HR and 90RBI adding even more pop to a power-filled Halos lineup. 

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Today’s Moves…

The Yankees traded starting pitcher Jaret Wright and cash to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Chris Britton, ending Wright’s disappointing tenure in the Bronx.  Britton is a decent addition to a Yankees bullpen which could certainly use his help. 

The Cubs re-signed 3rd-baseman Aramis Ramirez to a 5year 73Million contract.  Ramirez could have added more power to the weak free agent class but the Cubs felt that he was too good to let go and offered him nearly 15M per year; an offer that was too good to turn down. 

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Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question (see — Free Agent Profile: Andy Pettitte) was…

When Andy Pettitte started Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, he tied Christy Mathewson and Waite Hoyt for 2nd on the all-time World Series starts list with 11.  Who is at the top of the list with double that number?

The correct answer…

Whitey Ford with an unbelieveable 22 World Series starts.

Today’s question is…

What is JD Drew’s full name?

Hint: the initials he uses are not in the correct order

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Next week’s profiles

Monday: Roger Clemens

Tuesday: Gary Matthews Jr.

Wednesday: Gil Meche

Thursday: Julio Lugo

Friday: Tom Glavine

Saturday: Mark DeRosa

Sunday: Eddie Guardado

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