In baseball, it's nearly impossible to make a judgment on one player after three games. There are just too many variable to take into account to deem a hitter worthy of a roster spot or not, especially in the early going. There is, however, one big exception to that rule, and his name is Stephen Drew.
The New York Yankees already have enough problems to deal with at the plate this season, so there is no reason to keep trotting the hopeless Drew to the batter's box, believing he will actually produce. The simple truth is Drew is a terrible major league baseball player. We know it. Yankees fans know it. But, of course, nobody has a say in the matter except for general manager Brian Cashman and, to a lesser extent, Joe Girardi.
Cashman has a baseball love affair with Drew for who knows how long, as the Yankees have seemingly always been considered potential suitors for the then-shortstop until the two finally came together last year in a trade with the Red Sox. Now, if Boston is willing to trade a player to the Yankees, you know he can't be very good.
Drew hasn't had a great season since 2008, when he hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBI with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After two years of playing half-seasons, Drew latched on with Boston, where he had one mediocre year in 2013, hitting .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBI, before splitting time in Boston and New York last year, where he hit .176 for the Red Sox and .150 for the Yankees.
Of course, that sample wasn't good enough of a gauge for Cashman, who brought Drew back this offseason on a one-year, $5 million deal to start at second base.
Three games into the season and it's already apparent Drew isn't getting any better. Worse, he's holding back a couple of talented young players who could use the promotion to the Bronx to prove they have what it takes to succeed on the main stage. Not to mention giving the Yankees organization a better handle on their future as well.
Drew is 1-for-9 this season with two strikeouts. All you need to know about Drew is his at-bat in the series finale against the Blue Jays Thursday. After Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira homered to get the Yankees back into the game, trailing 5-3, Chris Young was hit by a pitch and John Ryan Murphy doubled to put the tying runners on with two outs in the sixth.
Drew, for reasons only Girardi understands, was called in to pinch hit for Gregorio Petit, and promptly struck out. Never mind Brian McCann and Brett Gardner were available to pinch hit, it was again apparent to everyone, except Cashman, that Drew has no place on this team.
"If anyone were to struggle, we would probably make a change," Girardi said about Drew one month ago during spring training. "That's the nature of our game. We didn't sign him to struggle. We signed him to play at a high level, and we expect that he will."
The expectations should be over. They should have been over last season, when the Yankees took their chance on Drew and he responded by getting 21 hits in 140 at-bats.
The worst part of Drew remaining on the roster and in the starting lineup is the Yankees actually have more exciting options in-house. In the minor leagues right now are Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder, two potential replacements for the old, decaying player that currently patrols second base at the Stadium.
Both players were impressive last season in the minors. Pirela hit .305 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs, 60 RBI and 15 steals in 130 games in Triple-A. Refsnyder hit a combined .318 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs and 63 RBI in 138 games between Double-A and Triple-A last year.
Refsnyder, who is the hot name when it comes to replacing Drew at the moment, also has a championship pedigree, winning a national championship at Arizona in 2012, where we was named most outstanding player.
When you look at those numbers, albeit in the minor leagues, it's impossible not to believe either Pirela or Refsnyder would be better than Drew right now. They certainly can't be any worse. And if that's the case, side with youth.
It's nearly impossible to judge a baseball player off three games, but everyone who has watched the Yankees play this season and last knows Drew doesn't belong on the team. Now it's time for Cashman and Girardi to come to grips with the realization Drew will never be the player they believe he is.
It's time for the Yankees to push youth into the lineup, especially in this situation. It's time for Pirela or Refsnyder, whomever the Yankees organization believes is ready, and end the Drew era once and for all. The sooner the better.