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That’s Enough Of Stephen Drew

USA Today Sports

USA Today Sports

It is time for the New York Yankees to take the F and move on.

The Stephen Drew project had failure written on it from the start; a slapstick effort to overcome other previously futile attempts to bring consistent production back to the second base position following Robinson Cano’s departure two winters ago.

Desperate to overcome Brian Robert’s half season of stagnancy, the Yankees traded for Drew, a shortstop by trade, in 2014. For whatever reason, the team thought Drew could serve as an upgrade despite the fact that he was hitting just .176 for the Boston Red Sox when they acquired him at the trade deadline. To little surprise, Drew’s struggles continued in New York, as he finished the season with a .162 average and .536 OPS.

September 28 was the day the Yankees’ season ended last year – the day they should have given up on the Drew project. The failing mark would have gone in the grade book and Brian Cashman, the Steinbrenner brothers and the rest of the front office could have gotten to work on a plan to ace the next major assignment and move on from the F.

Instead, the Yankees went back to the teacher and asked for an extension – they re-upped with Drew and signed him to a one-year, $5 million contract this past offseason. With a little more time and a little more work they could surely turn their failing grade into a cost-effective, creative and productive assignment worthy of a gold star sticker.

Well now it is June of 2015, about two months of the MLB season has gone by and it appears as evident as ever that the Yankees never had an understanding of the material they originally assigned themselves when they set out to find a capable second baseman last July.

Yet again, Drew’s performance has been nothing short of terrible. The 32-year-old, playing in his tenth big league season now, is batting .157 with a .526 OPS in 170 plate appearances. With five home runs, he has displayed modest power, yet with just 15 runs batted in to accompany the longballs it is clear that Drew’s impact has been minimal at best.

To put how abysmal Drew has been into perspective, Didi Gregorius, who is notorious for his limited offensive skills, has 64 points on his teammate’s batting average and 54 points on his OPS.

Drew has been especially awful of late, going 6-59 in his last 16 games. He somehow managed five RBI in that span – each of which should be considered individual miracles. Drew is currently riding a five-game, 0-17 streak which led to manager Joe Girardi benching him in favor of Jose Pirela to close out the month of May.

Finally, it seems as if the skipper is starting to understand the sentiments of the ever-growing line of people who want to know why the Yankees are so infatuated with Drew. Of course, any extended removal of Drew from the lineup (don’t get your hopes up – he’s started Monday night) would state that the Yankees are finally willing to admit this was a mistake.

Yet, the question still remains: How are they going to fix that bad grade?

Pirela is probably not the answer the Yankees are looking for. The 25-year-old has played poorly in the field and while his sample size is certainly smaller than Drew’s, it is rather unimpressive nonetheless. With zero homers, zero RBI, zero stolen bases, a .222 average and .472 OPS in 36 at-bats, there is little reason for New York to expect much production from Pirela should they decide to make a permanent change.

Which brings us to Rob Refsnyder.

Yankees fans have been begging the team to call up the prospect going all the way back to the closing months of the 2014 season. It was obvious why Cashman was not ready to pull the trigger on a promotion then – he was still developing and his fielding needed work.

Now though?

Now those fans are pulling their hair out as they hopelessly await this kid’s promotion while columnist after columnist tries to figure out why Refsnyder cannot even get a shot at contributing to the major league club.

Yes, Refsnyder still needs some glove work – he has 11 errors this year compared to Drew’s four – but the Yankees are desperate for someone to jump-start this lineup and second base is currently the only position they have with expendable personnel. While the Bombers are fifth in the majors in runs scored and a pedestrian but not ghastly 15th in OBP and 21st in average, the team’s output at second is significantly holding them back.

The likes of Drew, Pirela and Gregorio Petit have combined for a .174 average, .230 OBP, .290 slugging percentage, -1.1 WAR and .202 BABIP, all of which are last in the majors except for the slugging percentage. That is second-to-last behind the Chicago White Sox. On top of all that, the Yankees are just one of three teams in baseball to not yet get a stolen base out of a second baseman.

Make no mistake, Refsnyder is not going to be the reincarnation of Cano, but his stats this past year and a half are reason to believe that he would be an improvement over the Yankees’ current incumbents if the organization ever decided to give him a chance.

The 24-year-old, who hit .318 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 63 RBI, nine stolen bases and an .884 OPS last year between Double and Triple-A, is back to doing his thing this year. Having started the season at Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, Refsnyder is presently hitting .283 with 12 doubles, two dingers, 18 RBI, five swipes and a .751 OPS in 197 plate appearances – most of which are numbers that Drew cannot touch.

Even if the Yankees are not confident Refsnyder can make a difference, they should at least be curious enough to find out. To put it bluntly, the guy could not be any worse than what they are already going with. The only other route they could take is to scope out the trade market, and they very well may elect to go that way instead, but at this point Drew can no longer be an option.

Despite their first place standing in the American League East, this team has plenty of holes that they cannot easily fill. That is not the case at second base.

Like the kid who got a bad grade in school, it is time for the Yankees to own up the mistake of bringing the veteran back, take the F and start focusing on what they can do to make it up.

It is time for the Yankees to say, “That’s enough of Stephen Drew.”

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