Washington Nationals: Why They Need To Re-Sign Stephen Drew
By Ricky Keeler
After trading Danny Espinosa last night, the Washington Nationals need to re-sign Stephen Drew as their utility infielder
The Washington Nationals now have a new shortstop in Trea Turner after the acquisition of Adam Eaton and they are now in need of a utility infielder after Danny Espinosa was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last night. With Espinosa gone, the Nats are in need of a veteran infielder that can play multiple positions.
During the 2016 season, Dusty Baker did a good job of managing players day off due to the depth that he had on the bench. The Washington Nationals do have Wilmer Difo who can play second base, shortstop, and occasionally third base. However, with Turner now playing shortstop, the Nats can use a veteran utility player.
One year ago, I never thought I would be writing this right now, but the Washington Nationals need to re-sign Stephen Drew to a one-year deal. The Angels showed interest in Drew earlier this winter, but with Espinosa now their new starting second baseman (in all likelihood), there doesn’t seem to be a spot for Drew to start everyday.
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Drew only played in 70 games last season, but still put up productive numbers off the bench. He had a slash line of .266/.339/.524 with eight home runs and 21 RBI’s. The 70 games were the fewest he has played in a season since his rookie season with the Arizona Diamondbacks (59).
While Drew didn’t see much game action in 2016, he gave the Washington Nationals much needed versatility on defense. He played 21 games at second base, 12 at shortstop, and 12 at third base. According to Baseball Reference, his WAR of 1.0 in 2016 was the highest its been since 2013 with the Red Sox when they won the World Series.
In addition to his versatility in the infield, Drew also brought some power off the bench. His three pinch-hit home runs were tied with Chris Heisey for the most on the team this past season.
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Last offseason, the Washington Nationals signed Drew to a one year, $3 million in early January. With Espinosa gone, the Nats should use the money they were going to pay him with to bring back the 33-year-old infielder (34 in March). He showed good versatility and has power off the bench, which is what Baker needs to have a strong bench for 2017.