They are made of the same pedigree, share the same blood. Stephen however tends to smile a little more though. And most importantly, on the baseball field, they are solid when it comes to running, throwing and doing other stuff that one may value on a baseball diamond.
I'm sure several Red Sox fans think Stephen Drew is terrible this year. Heck, maybe several fans in general, ones that reside outside of New England even. His .225 average is well below the league-average. And the 23 year-old Jose Iglesias sold his soul to the BABIP gods, and is pressing Drew, making sure Drew keeps playing as well as he can, with Iglesias' .430 average on the big-board every night.
Iglesias is the future. If not him, then Xander Bogaerts. Maybe both depending on how 3B works out. But you know who isn't part of the Red Sox future, post-2013 I mean? Stephen Drew. He was signed as a stop-gap, and has produced like a stop-gap. Nothing spectacular. Nothing that is going to cost the team, negatively.
But behind every batting average, is something that matters much, much more: most other statistics.
Stephen Drew has .303 wOBA. Cool, you might say. But a .303 wOBA is actually better than the average shortstop at the plate. The league-average wOBA for the shortstop position is .296 -- which let's not kid ourselves -- is pretty bad. Even from a defense-first position. But the offensive threshold from the shortstop position, as every one of you readers know, is lower at shortstop.
Drew as a defender has been solid as well. I watch him play a lot, and he makes the plays, doesn't make many gaffes, etc. But my eyes are not objective. His UZR is 6.9. Take that with a grain of salt as well with how small of a sample size we are dealing with. Total Zone, via Baseball-Reference has Drew as neutral, defensively. Drew has always been a solid defender though, there is nothing that should lead us to believe that his defensive floor, at this point, is anything below average defensively. Maybe even a little better.
So what are we looking at? A capable SS -- even with a .225 average? A capable trade-chip? If Iglesias continues to hit like a human being might hit, rather than like he was in 'Ken Griffey Jr's Slugfest' on N64, a trade may present itself. Eventually Iglesias' numbers will come way down. How about Drew the capable utility-infielder? Best case scenario, Middlebrooks finds his swing, Iglesias keeps up his quality play and Pedroia continues to be Pedroia, then Drew could be a very good, albeit, semi-expensive insurance piece off of the bench. But the money left owed to Drew isn't much if the team stays in contention, since he does provide value. And let's not ignore the beast; the Red Sox have money. Lots of it.
In that utopia of a world where Middlebrooks learns how to hit, or Bogaerts or Cecchini speed up their development to "big-league ready," and of course Iglesias hits enough to warrant a spot on the diamond permanently, then Drew may end up being the odd man out.
Luckily for the Red Sox, depth is a great thing to have, and teams in contention could use Stephen Drew's skill-set. The Dodgers come to mind first, because they could do what they should do and move Hanley Ramirez to 3b, while demoting Punto to utility infielder. The Dodgers first priority however is to actually get back into contention. Drew might even be an upgrade at 3b or 2b for a particular team, if he can handle second well enough that is, given that he is not a 2B.
The Red Sox have plenty of options and depth when things are going right. And health-wise, if things were going well, they may choose to do absolutely nothing with Drew. Having too many options is generally a very-good thing when striving for a pennant.
And that is exactly what the Red Sox are trying to do.