Looks like both sides of this deal got what they wanted: the Oakland Athletics, making a somewhat surprising pennant race stand, got their veteran shortstop, and the Arizona Diamondbacks finally made room for their preferred shortstop.
The Snakes traded Stephen Drew to the A’s Monday night, after Drew passed through the waiver wire with only cursory nods, seemingly, from two contenders, the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels, both of whom decided it wasn’t worth picking up the $2 million Drew’s owed through the season when, as Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal notes, he isn’t all that likely to make a big difference for Oakland down the stretch.
Drew missed almost a full year thanks to a broken ankle; he’d had 155 plate appearances and a .601 OPS to show for those at the time of the trade. The Diamondbacks—who were willing to unload him despite being only five out in the National League West—prefer Willie Bloomquist playing short. But the Snakes couldn’t make a non-waiver trade deadline deal involving Drew when they still had worries about Bloomquist’s back, Rosenthal notes. Now, however, Bloomquist is due to return Friday following a short stint on the disabled list.
The A’s must be hoping Drew regains the form in which he hit .291 with 76 extra-base hits four years ago. They must also be salivating that they could get him for a low-A infielder (Sean Jamieson), even if Drew proves a rental, knowing the Diamondbacks weren’t likely to be able to re-sign a guy with a $10 million mutual option for 2013 and/or a $1.35 million buyout.
Drew may have worn out his welcome in Arizona despite being a fan favourite. Principal owner Ken Kendrick, talking in June, wasn’t exactly overjoyed about his shortstop’s injury . . . or, apparently, his attitude:
You know, I’m going to be real direct about Stephen. I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now. And, frankly, I for one am disappointed. I’m going to be real candid and say I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary. All you can do is hope that the player is treating the situation with integrity, and, frankly, we have our concerns.
Drew was a trade rumour subject for much of the non-waiver period, and Kendrick apparently wasn’t the only one questioning Drew’s rehab efforts. It helped to compromise Drew’s previous reputation for hard-nosed (not bullheaded) play with brains as much as brawn applied.
MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE JUNGLE . . .
IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE?—The Philadelphia Phillies aren’t going to let a little thing like having traded the man stop them from going ahead with Hunter Pence Bobblehead Night. They’ll pass out the statues—which were made before the season, never mind before the Phillies fell far enough out of the race to think about trading Pence (to the San Francisco Giants) in a payroll-cutting bid—tonight for the Phillies’ game against the Cincinnati Reds.
DUI DUMMY—That would be Michael Pineda, alleged to be a New York Yankee pitcher (he’s been out all season thus far, following his trade from Seattle, rehabbing an injured shoulder), getting bagged in the wee small hours of Monday in Tampa. It took $500 to spring him on bail.
ROCKET FOOL?—Roger Clemens is back in uniform—the Rocket signed with the independent Sugarland Skeeters (Atlantic League) Monday. It might be mad fun to speculate on whether it means (yet another) major league comeback (he’d beat Jamie Moyer for being the oldest man to pitch in a major league uniform, for one thing), but my favourite observation comes from ESPN Insider’s Dan Symborski:
My first reaction was happiness at the possibility that we’d get to delay an unpleasant Hall of Fame argument surrounding the Rocket for an additional five years. My second reaction was amusement that given the state of Houston’s rotation, which looks a bit like supermarket shelves the day before a blizzard, he would actually be an upgrade on a few of the pitchers being trotted out at the moment.
That’s bound to leave the proverbial mark . . .
SPEEDY RECOVERY—To Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, who’s undergoing treatment for a brain tumour in New York. The MLBPA said Weiner began treatment Monday and will undergo the treatment for a month.
BOSTON CLEANUP?—Some think the Red Sox’s beheading of pitching coach Bob McClure may actually portend the beginning of a serious cleanup. McClure, who wasn’t exactly Bobby Valentine’s man as pitching coach, will be succeeded in the interim by Randy Niemann, whom Valentine has known since their days with the Mets, when Niemann was bullpen coach and rehab pitching coordinator under Valentine. Unloading McClure could be taken as a show of support for the embattled Valentine . . . or (since bench coach Tim Bogar and catching coach Gary Tuck—both of whom aren’t exactly Valentine allies—remain intact), it could be taken as the beginning of a wholesale cleanup that may well wait until season’s end, especially if the Red Sox a) aren’t willing to take the interim tag off Niemann; and, b) are yet considering Valentine’s walking papers considering the seasonal turmoil to which he’s contributed a little too much.