The final moments of the trade deadline can make a team do strange things, like make a deal with a bitter rival.
The New York Yankees did just that by acquiring shortstop Stephen Drew from the rival Boston Red Sox, just moments before the non-waiver deadline.
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston first reported the deal was close:
Hearing Steven Drew to the Yankees— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) July 31, 2014
ESPN's Buster Olney later confirmed the move:
Done deal: Stephen Drew to the Yankees, as @GordonEdes mentioned.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 31, 2014
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News passes along more details:
Yankees receive $500,000 from the Red Sox in the Drew deal.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) July 31, 2014
Jack Curry of YES Network and Feinsand provide Yankees GM Brian Cashman's comments on the deal:
Cashman said Yankees believe that Drew, a SS, has the athleticism to play 2B. Talks on Drew began today w/ text from Cashman to Cherington.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 31, 2014
Cashman on Drew playing 2B: "We're asking him to accept a new challenge."— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) July 31, 2014
Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports Kelly Johnson will be sent as a return:
Confirmed: Stephen Drew to Yankees for INF/OF Kelly Johnson. #RedSox— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) July 31, 2014
Drew has played 39 games this season for the Red Sox, but has only managed a .176 batting average to go with his four home runs. While he played a big role in the team's run to a World Series in 2013, the 31-year-old player was not as helpful in 2014.
This is the latest move in a fire sale for Boston before the deadline which has already seen deals to part with Jon Lester, John Lackey and more, per Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. This latest move brings in a versatile player with six home runs on the year who can add depth to the lineup.
Unfortunately, the team will have to wait for Johnson to return from injury, as noted by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
Kelly Johnson is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin (7/23). Yankees had expected him to return when eligible.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 31, 2014
More importantly, the deal will now free up space for some of the younger players to get onto the field like Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts.
Meanwhile, the Yankees will hope that Drew can provide some of his magic from last season and help upgrade the middle infield. Derek Jeter has done his best in his final season before retiring, but he still ranks just 26th in wins above replacement among major league shortstops (h/t ESPN.com).
Drew has not been any better this season, but he should be able to help the team out as a left-handed hitter who can help Jeter rest some more games. Additionally, his fielding is something you cannot overlook. Former teammate Jon Lester recently explained his value, via Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
Jon Lester on Stephen Drew: "I could care less about his offense. I love what he brings to our defense."— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 14, 2014
The pitching staff in New York will love having a player with Drew's range in the middle infield.
Of course, the most interesting part of this deal is the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees were willing to negotiate a deal. As ESPN Stats & Info points out, this is not common:
Red Sox send Stephen Drew to the Yankees. That's the 1st trade between the teams since Mike Stanley went to New York on Aug. 13, 1997— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 31, 2014
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports jokes that this will not change much:
Still, this deal adds another chapter to what has become one of the craziest deadlines in recent memory.
Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit both players, and their new teams can reap the benefits.
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