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J.D. Drew “very likely” to retire

Jan 24, 2012, 1:03 PM EDT

J.D. Drew Getty Images

Given that (a) no team has been linked to him at all this winter; and (b) he himself has sounded very unenthusiastic about playing again, this is not terribly surprising, but Jon Heyman reports that J.D. Drew is likely to retire.

If he is done, Drew put together a better career than you think he did. He hit .278/.384/.489 with 242 homers in his career and played some pretty snazzy defense until age caught up with him. He was much maligned as a slacker and malingerer, but most of that was based on the way he carried himself — he wasn’t a rah-rah guy — than on actual reports of him, say, not actually being hurt or not giving his best effort.

In some ways he was a victim of three things that often give guys a bad reputation with the media: (a) that lack of being a vocal leader type; (b) the fact that so much of his value came via unsexy things like plate discipline; and (c) that thing at the beginning of his career where he and his agent — Scott Boras — hatched the plot in which he refused to play for the Phillies.

You can say what you want about the business savvy of all of that, but it all added up to people viewing Drew’s baseball abilities far more harshly than they may have viewed a similar player who walked a different kind of walk.

  1. bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    He goes in to the Hall of Mediocre…as a Red Sox. Fitting for a team that has been just that for the vast majority of its existence.

    • cur68 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      “Fitting…(for someone who’s)…been just that for the vast majority of its existence”

      Interesting logic, bozo. By that meter, then you go into the Hall of Douche, right? First ballot too, I’ll wager.

      • paperlions - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        First ballot? Hell, we’ll waive the waiting period for him.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        He’ll probably get a wing in the HoD named after him one day.

      • bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:14 PM

        cur (and the rest of his band of gay men)…if you try really hard, maybe you can pretend that I give a shit what you all think. Keep the lame material coming…I’ll keep on enjoying the laughs.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        You taking the time to respond to us like the grade 5 kid you probably are makes me believe you do care. Sorry guys, I won’t feed the troll anymore.

      • cur68 - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        His bust will be made out of recycled vinegar bottles.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Yeah, I’m going to stop responding to bozos. Hope you guys join me.

    • marshmallowsnake - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      So you mean like the Yankees of the 80’s and early 90’s? No team is exempt from being mediocre at some point.

      • kopy - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        I’m pretty sure the Pirates have never been mediocre.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        marshmallows – if you will allow me to clarify something.

        In 1980 the Yankees lost the ALCS – But finished the season with 103 wins
        In 1981 the Yankees lost the World Series
        In 1982 through 1993 – I will refer to the “dark” period in Yankee baseball. Not because they played poorly in all those years but because they missed the post season in all of them. But, having said that in those 12 seasons the Yankees finished no worse then 2nd in the AL East and won at least 90 games 3 times. So while it was a “dark” period, in my opinion it was far from mediocre. In fact if you look at the Yankees record for each of those years you could say the Yankees only played mediocre baseball in the years 1982 and then 1988 through 1992 (6 years total). All the other years the Yankees finished at least 10 games over .500 ball during that span.

        In 1994 the MLB season was cut short by the strike. But it’s important to note the Yankees had the best record in the American League 70-43.

        I need not describe the Yankees cumulative record starting from 1995 to the present time. We’re all pretty much familiar with that. I just like people to be accurate when they talk about the Yankees performance.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:42 PM

        Quite right. 10 years of not making the postseason isn’t the same as 10 years of being mediocre.

        But even if he had the timeframe a bit wrong, Marshmallow’s point that every team has mediocre years is quite right. And bozo is still dead wrong.

      • bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        Hardly “dead wrong”…given that Boston is supposed to be such a bastion of wealth…yet they couldn’t win a single World Series title from 1920 to 2003. The only part I might be “wrong” about was upgrading your team to “mediocre” from “sucked” for most of the last century.

  2. bigxrob - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Hey look, a post relating to Boston and guff from Bozo. Never saw that coming.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Extra thumbs up for using “guff”.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Let the shenanigans ensue!

  3. crispybasil - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I lost a lot of money when he hit that grand slam off of Carmona (or whatever his name is).

    • uyf1950 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      It’s: Roberto Hernandez Heredia, now is that so hard to remember.

      • crispybasil - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        I could have looked it up, but why pass on the opportunity for a little interaction with the HBT commenters?

  4. 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I think his reputation always suffered for not being as good as people expected him to be. He was very good, and not great, and the critics never forgave him for it. He was supposed to be great.

    • sasquash20 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:16 PM

      I’m sure his rep suffered when he wouldn’t sign with the Phillies. Total douche bag

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        No, it was the Phillies who look stupid. Instead of signing JD Drew, they put Ron Gant in the outfield in 1999 and 2000 for roughly $12 million.

        The Phillies made a mistake.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        This. Sure, Boras has a high asking price, and Drew could be criticized for using Boras to get more money. But the Phillies knew that, drafted him anyway, and then lost out on six years of Drew because they didn’t want to spend an extra couple million.

  5. pkswally024 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    He’s a bum. Signed every Phillies fan.

  6. mdpickles - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    A career of failed expectations!! Was he ever worth a $10 million signing bonus? Was it Boras, Drew, or both deciding not to sign with the Phils?

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      125 career OPS+, would average about 500 PAs a year with 20 homers and a .880 OPS, 45.9 career WAR…he put up an MVP type season in 2004 (a broken hand on on HBP hurt what would have been another MVP type season in 2001)…

      …he had a pretty good career.

    • jwbiii - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:56 PM

      Boras doesn’t seem to have anything against the Phils, so I’d say it was Drew’s call.

  7. shaggylocks - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Except for a very brief period in 2007 when I would actually be jolted awake by nightmares of the guy swinging at balls in the dirt, I always felt JD Drew was the most underrated player on the Boston roster for pretty much his entire career with the Red Sox.

  8. dawkisgod - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Don’t let the batteries hit you in the a**………..

    • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Stay classy.

  9. thefalcon123 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    JD Drew was an excellent player but constant injuries squandered his potential.

    Just like they did with Eric Davis. So where’s the constant, irrational hate for that guy?

    • sasquash20 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      I’m a phillies fan and he was a punk. I’ll continue to hate him for being a spoiled douche bag thank you very much.

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        I have some good friends who are big Phillies fans. They are smart, rational people. I’m beginning to think they are the only Phillies fans who are…

      • 18thstreet - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        He took a tremendous risk throwing himself back into the draft. I think he’s been vindicated.

        If he had signed with the Phillies, you would have hated him even more (See: Abreu, Bobby).

    • Ari Collins - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      The hatred for Drew, explained!

      1. He was very good, when everyone thought he’d be great.

      2. He was injured a lot, when everyone thought he should “play through it” more.

      3. Boras was his agent, resulting in the Phillies drafting him and not meeting his asking price. It also resulted in his using the opt-out in his contract wjth the Dodgers to (surprise!) opt out.

      4. He didn’t exhibit strong emotions on the field, which led to him being described as passive and without “fire”.

      Most of that’s off-the-field media-created bullshit, far as I’m concerned. The injuries were real and didn’t help. But he was an excellent player even with them, and it’s a shame he won’t be remembered that way.

      • Joe - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        When Drew was slumping in 2007 after signing that big contract with Boston, a guy – not a baseball insider, just some idiot fan – in an Internet forum that I frequented back then complained that Drew didn’t care and wasn’t even trying to hit better. So it wasn’t just media-created bullshit. A lot of it was idiot fan-created bullshit.

      • jwbiii - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        It’s a funny thing, Ari Collins, when a team doesn’t pick up a team option, it’s ok. When a player doesn’t pick up a player option, he’s a greedy f’ing bastard.

    • jwbiii - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Eric Davis didn’t piss off a thin skinned fan base.

  10. Detroit Michael - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Others have touched on this already, but besides the three reasons listed in the blog post, Drew was underrated because he never played full seasons, so his seasonal counting statistics never looked very impressive. Only twice did he play more than 140 games and those were both in his walk years with Atlanta and the Dodgers, which gave the impression (perhaps unfairly) that perhaps he could have played more in the other seasons.

  11. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I think opting out of his own contract to make even more in Boston also made him look greedy, and I never really feel that way about contracts.

    He didn’t care, or seem to care, that he took such strong positions on salary. And when he never spoke up, fans had no other side of him to get to know.

    Whether he deserves a bad wrap or not, that left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans.

  12. dcfan4life - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Underrated player. He solidified right field in Boston, help them win 2 World Series with some clutch postseason play, and managed to outperform some serious setbacks with unjuries. The hatred for him probably stems from his refusal to play for the Phillies (shocking considering what a wonderful city and super nice people Philladelphia has…) and his overall demeanor. But hats off to a strong career. Now go open a bunch of laundry mats or car washes like other long time solid Boston players lol.

  13. bozosforall - Jan 24, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    He was a turd…which made him a perfect fit in Boston.

  14. megary - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Injuries took there toll, but checking out Baseball Reference gives these players as the most similar through age 35:
    1.Larry Doby (945) *
    2.Reggie Sanders (940)
    3.Ray Lankford (935)
    4.Cliff Floyd (922)
    5.Bill Nicholson (919)
    6.Bob Allison (912)
    7.David Justice (909)
    8.Ryan Klesko (907)
    9.Vic Wertz (905)
    10.Bob Johnson (904)

    Maybe the consensus has it right after all…

  15. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    I predict that JD will pull a hammie on first day of retirement. He is be out 6 to 12 weeks.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Out? What will he be out from doing?

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