Adam Rubin of ESPN New York was told by a source that agent Scott Boras is seeking a multi-year contract for Stephen Drew which includes an opt-out clause after the first season.
Boras has had a hard enough time finding a team who is willing to surrender a draft pick (and the corresponding draft pool money) in order to sign Drew, so he’s probably pushing his luck here. Not surprisingly, Rubin hears that such a scenario is a “deal-breaker” for the Mets, though they would consider a two- or three-year deal without an out-clause.
The Red Sox haven’t completely closed the door on re-signing Drew and the idea of him leaving after one year could make sense there, since he would mostly be seen as a stopgap option at shortstop anyway. Of course, if he struggles or gets hurt this season, the Red Sox would likely be stuck with him for 2015. And that would be less than ideal.
It’s probably too late in the winter to demand such things, but something will have to give soon. We’re just a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting for most teams.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.