Washington Nationals Sign Stephen Drew To One-Year Deal

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The Nats have reportedly added their new backup second baseman as they signed Stephen Drew to a one-year deal.

After the Washington Nationals reportedly signed Daniel Murphy to play second base, one of the main questions about the signing was how bad Murphy has been defensively at the position. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and MLB Network, the Nationals have found their new backup second baseman as they have signed left-handed hitting infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year deal:

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This past season with the New York Yankees, Drew had a slash line of .201/.271/.381 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI’s in 131 games. His 17 home runs were the second most he has hit in a season (21 with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008). Out of those 131 games, he played 123 of them at second base (94 starts), but he also has experience at shortstop and even third base. His best month of the 2015 season was in June when he hit six home runs and had a slugging percentage of .514 in 74 at-bats.

Drew, who will turn 33 in March, was drafted with the 15th pick in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Diamondbacks when Mike Rizzo was part of the front office as the director of scouting. This is the second straight offseason where Rizzo has brought in a veteran second baseman that he drafted while he was with Arizona (Dan Uggla). Over the course of his ten-year career, Drew has played with the D’Backs, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox (part of the 2013 World Series Championship team), and the Yankees.

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While his batting average has dropped drastically from the .253 he hit with Boston in 2013, Drew does fit a need for the Nationals off the bench because of his defense. According to Fangraphs, Drew had -3 defensive runs saved in 2015 at second base, but he had zero runs saved at shortstop. So, Drew could either backup Murphy at second or Danny Espinosa at shortstop while Trea Turner and Wilmer Difo continue their development in the minor leagues. However, William Ladson of MLB.com tweeted that there could be a competition for that starting shortstop spot:

Drew is far from the player that had a 3.0 WAR with the Red Sox in 2013, but he does bring some power to the Nats off the bench. This past season, all of the Nats’ pinch-hitters combined to hit five home runs. Two of those five home runs came from Danny Espinosa and Michael Taylor (one home run each). Plus, 14 of his 17 home runs this past season came against right-handed pitching.

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While this isn’t a flashy signing, Drew gives the Washington Nationals veteran depth at both second base and shortstop, which is something they needed. The batting average is low, but he provides a good defensive option with some power for Dusty Baker to use off the bench.

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