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Drew to a Flush?
2004-12-19 16:03
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

When healthy, J.D. Drew when healthy is a lovely hitter when healthy.

Drew has a career OPS of .904 (.391 on-base, .513 slugging). The left-handed-hitting outfielder was fifth in the National League last season in EQA, according to Baseball Prospectus - just ahead of Adrian Beltre - and was the game's 10th-most valuable player, according to VORP (Value Over Replacement Player). He reached base 281 times last season.

Drew had an EQA of .335 in 2004 at age 28. By comparison, the career high for Shawn Green in EQA, which also came at age 28, was .324. In his entire career, Drew has grounded into 34 double plays, one fewer than Green's 2003-04 total.

The comparisons to Green, of course, raise the question about whether Drew just had his peak season - especially since this is an oft-injured player whose career high in games, achieved in 2004, is a relatively modest 145.

Drew is a player who can hit anywhere in a lineup, including third or fourth. He would be an improvement over Green and less expensive than Green. But the Dodgers would have to have their guard up. Less metaphorically, they would have to keep a healthy rotation of backups - achievable through the multipositional skills of several players on the roster.

Anyone who was against a rich, long-term contract for Adrian Beltre is probably going to be against a rich, long-term contract for J.D. Drew. Given that Drew plays outfield and not third base, the Dodgers would probably be better off than Beltre.

Signing Drew would be risky - and there shouldn't have necessarily been a need for the Dodgers to take risks at this point. But in any case, especially if Green is traded, they'll be able to afford a risk. And if you're going to gamble, Drew would be a fun hitter while he lasts.

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