Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 8/22/12

The Oakland A’s recently announced that they have acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league infielder Sean Jamieson.  Drew has missed 142 games in the last two seasons after fracturing his right ankle in 2011, and his offensive numbers have been poor so far in 2012.  Despite a sample that only includes 155 plate appearances this season, the Diamondbacks were willing to sell low on Drew, and shipped him off to Oakland.  Drew has a $10 million mutual option for 2013 with a $1.35 million buyout.  At first glance, it seems unlikely that the A’s would pick up the option and this will likely be another late-season rental in the hopes of making a postseason run.

via www.fantasyknuckleheads.com

The A’s are probably hoping that the old “change of scenery” stigma will hold true for Drew, and that he will recapture his swing in the twilight of the 2012 season.  And they certainly have reason to hope.  He was out for a long time, and stepping into the box only 155 times may not have been enough to get his swing dialed in.  His BABIP has been more than sixty points lower than his career rate, and his HR/FB% is almost two percentage points lower than his career number.  Add in natural regression, and Drew could end up being a valuable player for the A’s in September.  The last three seasons in which Drew had at least 500 plate appearances, he was worth a total of 9.3 WAR; an average of 3.1 wins a season.  Looking at that number makes the notion of picking up his option sound a little less crazy.

Then again, he may continue to be terrible with Oakland and may never produce a three-win season again.  Injuries often derail productive careers, and an iffy right ankle could throw off his swing, not to mention diminish his range at shortstop.  The A’s, however, did the right thing by taking this “risk”.  So far this season, shortstops wearing an Oakland uniform have put up a league worst 58 wRC+.  Any improvement by Drew, which, at least from a statistical standpoint, seems likely, would be an improvement for an A’s offense that currently ranks 24th among Major League teams in runs scored.  The A’s are currently only a half-game out of a wild card spot, so even the slightest upgrade could end up being astronomically important as the season winds down.  In that sense, this was definitely a trade worth making for Billy Beane and the Athletics.

-Albright

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