Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane traded for a great idea in the wee hours Monday night, adding shortstop Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks. At his best, Drew is one of the better hitting shortstops in the league. But since his rookie season in 2006, Drew rarely has been healthy enough to be at his best.
In 40 games this season for Arizona after recovering from a broken right ankle, Drew batted .193/.290/.311 with two homers for an adjusted OPS of 59. Those results contrast with Drew's numbers from 2010, 2008 and '06 — when he put up OPS totals north of .800.
The A's are in the thick of the AL West race as well as the wild cards, but they're also 25th in runs scored. Cliff Pennington has gotten most of the at-bats at short, and while his defense has been strong as usual, he's one of the worst hitters in the majors this season.
Drew hasn't been much better. But he might be. Reporter Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic says the A's are getting a player due for some better luck:
Drew's been unlucky in his 155 PAs this season. Guys with line-drive rates of 30 percent don't normally hit .193.
— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) August 21, 2012
Drew, 29, heads to Oakland in exchange for 23-year-old minor-league infielder Sean Jamieson, who has hit .235 in two seasons in the low minors. The A's and Drew have been linked for a while in the rumor mill, so it makes 100 percent sense from Oakland's standpoint. The hard thing to figure is, why the D-backs moved Drew.
The D-backs dug themselves a big hole in the first part of the season and suffered several huge injuries, but are still in the NL West race, and the wild-card race. It's Piecoro's first impression that Arizona is making the move to save money more than anything else. Oakland probably will buy out the mutual option Drew has in his contract for 2013.
Earlier this season, D-backs owner Ken Kendrick — astonishingly — ripped Drew for taking too long on his ankle rehab. (Kendrick also ripped Justin Upton at the time.) Kendrick's criticisms were not only misplaced, but they certainly didn't do much to help Drew's trade value once he became healthy.
It's possible Drew was never going to hit again for Arizona. But with a quarter of the season to go, a healthy ankle and better luck (perhaps) coming, it's a curious move for a team in contention. The A's can only gain from this trade. The D-backs will save some money, but that's probably it.
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