Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Braves have expressed interest in signing free agent Stephen Drew to play second base. Drew hadn’t appeared anywhere but shortstop before the 2014 season, when he made 31 starts at second for the Yankees, often playing alongside Derek Jeter.
Tommy La Stella was the primary second baseman this past season in Atlanta, but he was traded to the Cubs in mid-November for reliever Arodys Vizcaino and international signing money. Drew, who should be open to one-year offers after a season in which he batted .162/.237/.299, can serve as a stopgap until 20-year-old top prospect Jose Peraza is ready for the big-time.
Drew, 31, is also drawing free agent interest from the Mets and Athletics.
Didi Gregorius was called “a young Derek Jeter” a couple of summers ago by former Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and now that the 24-year-old shortstop is actually going to be playing in pinstripes — via last week’s three-team trade — the pressure is on him to in some ways meet that hype.
A number of people don’t see Gregorius coming close. This bit of dirt comes from Bob McManaman, senior sportswriter for the Arizona Republic …
Gregorius is a pleasant and polite young man, but he’s also quiet, introverted and has shown he can be a little mentally fragile when things aren’t going his way.
“He lets too many things get to him,” an ex-teammate said. “Didi, sometimes he just thinks too much, you know?”
“He always seems to have a lot on his mind,” former manager Kirk Gibson liked to say.
They’re going to eat him alive in New York.
“He’s OK,” an unnamed scout told Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News on Saturday. “Solid defender, bat is light – long swing. Good athlete. Nervous type, not sure he can handle NY.”
So, uh … good luck, kid.
OK, so it turns out new acquisition Didi Gregorius won’t be Derek Jeter’s replacement. He’ll only be Derek Jeter’s replacement about two-thirds of the time.
General manager Brian Cashman said on WFAN radio in New York that the plan is to platoon the left-handed-hitting Gregorius, sitting him versus left-handed pitching in favor of the right-handed-hitting Brendan Ryan.
Gregorius has definitely struggled versus lefties, hitting just .184 off them, but it’s only 180 total plate appearances and he’s only 24 years old. Plus, while Ryan does hit from the right side of the plate he doesn’t really “hit” from the right side of the plate, batting just .208 with a .556 OPS off lefties from 2012-2014.