Over the weekend I happened across this Joe Posnanski blog entry on Theo Epstein after Posnanski heard the Boston Red Sox GM on a local radio station with Boston sports media personalities Tony Massarotti and Michael Felger. You can listen to that interview here. The money excerpt takes place beginning at the 15:55 mark or so, when Theo asks Mazz and Felgy, who typify the mindset of the average Red Sox fan in so many ways, why they haven't asked him about J.D. Drew.
As Red Sox fans will probably remember, Drew has been treated unfairly in Boston since before his signing was even announced in the off-season prior to the 2007 season. Bob Ryan famously remarked on a media conference call, “On behalf of an eager constituency, let’s hope the rumor is not true" in reference to the possibility that the Red Sox would sign Drew. It wasn't limited to the mainstream, either. Our friend Chad Finn was very much against the deal, and you can see here in this Baseball Think Factory thread, Sox fan Jim Furtado says "this will not end well for Drew or the Red Sox".
Now, we are three years in. And let's just list out his record:
Drew started slowly in 2007 but finished strong, hitting .342/.454/.618 to close out the year from September 1st through the end of the regular season. In Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, the first Game 7 at Fenway Park since the Red Sox defeated the California Angels in the 1986 ALCS, Drew easily led the team in Win Probability Added, thanks to his 1st inning grand slam to center field off of Fausto Carmona.
Since 2008, Drew's OPS+ of 132 is second best among all AL outfielders with at least 900 plate appearances.
According to UZR/150, Drew was the second best defensive right fielder in all of baseball in 2009.
Over the life of his Red Sox contract, he has been the third best defensive right fielder in baseball.
As a Red Sox, Fangraphs has him as worth a total of $44.5 million. The Red Sox have paid him $42 million. In his worst season with Boston, they won a World Series. In all three of his seasons in Boston, they have qualified for post-season play.
Not that any of this will silence Drew's critics but seriously, by what measure was the Drew signing anything but a great one?