Pirates Free Agent Target: Stephen Drew
The Pirates’ biggest need this offseason is starting pitching. However, the Bucs also need a backup shortstop and this could potentially be Stephen Drew.
For the most part, the Pittsburgh Pirates 2017 roster is set in terms of position players. Their starting eight is set in stone as are four positions on their bench. However, the Pirates need a backup shortstop.
Free agent Stephen Drew could be a good fit for the Pirates. Somewhat surprisingly, the 33-year old Drew remains unsigned. Due to this Neal Huntington needs to give his agent a call.
Right now the Pirates bench consist of Adam Frazier, Chris Stewart, David Freese, and John Jaso. This has the makings of a strong bench but there is just one problem. That problem is that none of these players can play shortstop.
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This leaves Jordy Mercer as the only shortstop on the Pirates’ roster. And only having one player that is capable of playing shortstop is not something any Major League Baseball team can do. And due to a lack of strong internal options for backup shortstop, the Pirates need to look outside their organization.
Stephen Drew is coming off a strong 2016 campaign. In 2016 Drew posted a .339 on-base percentage and a 124 wRC+ for the Washington Nationals. During the 2016 season Drew played shortstop, third base, and second base for the National. Therefore, he brings positional flexibility which is something Pirate manager Clint Hurdle loves.
During his 11 year Major League career Stephen Drew has logged 8,512 1/3 innings at shortstop. In his career he owns a .980 fielding percentage and three defensive runs saved at shortstop. So while he will never be mistaken for a gold glove caliber shortstop, he is not a bum either.
Stephen Drew is also a former World Series Champion as he was a member of the 2013 Boston Red Sox. Throughout his career he has always been known as a great guy to have in the clubhouse as well.
Stephen Drew would also add some pop to the Pirates’ bench. Drew owns a .172 career ISO and a .424 slugging percentage. Potentially, he could replace Matt Joyce as the power threat off of the Pirate bench.
Next: Free Agent Target: Jason Hammel
Stephen Drew earned three million dollars in 2016. While he would look for a raise in 2017, he still would not require a very large contract. This should be enticing to the Pirates.
I believe Stephen Drew would be a great fit for the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates. He would improve an already strong bench, bring positional flexibility, and give the Pirates a needed backup shortstop. A one year deal wit Drew is something I would love to see get done.