Three years into J.D. Drew's five-year contract -- remember how it was reviled? -- and while we're not able to pass complete judgment yet, to this point it's looking pretty, pretty good. Theo Epstein on WEEI:
“If you want to look at this from a straight objective standpoint, what he contributes offensively and then what he contributes defensively, and then add in baserunning, so it’s the total value of a player, on a rate basis, he was outstanding. And there aren’t too many outfielders who can compare to what he did from a qualitative standpoint… What he’s done in the first three years of that contract, the way we value . . . based on the free agent market, what he’s done qualitatively, and when you factor in even the amount he’s played over these three years, yeah, he’s actually come out to a tick more than $14 million per year.”
Drew has been with the Red Sox for three seasons and he has earned $42 million. According to Epstein, he's been worth slightly more than $42 million. According to FanGraphs he's been worth $44.8 million. I don't believe that FanGraphs factors in non-SB baserunning, but depending on whose analysis you trust more, you have to be impressed with the other.
Drew will make another $14 million in both 2010 and 2011. That is a little scary considering his age (almost 34) but his trend line is actually going in the right direction. He was pretty awful in 2007, but 2008 and 2009 were two of the three best seasons of his career. I don't know if he'll ever play as well again as he did this year, but there's an excellent chance that he'll be worth at least $28 million over the next two seasons.
Oh, and one more feather in Theo Epstein's cap: While the Yankees have six players making at least $15 million per season, Drew is currently the highest paid member of the Red Sox. I'm sure that Epstein would love to have the Yankees' money, but he doesn't really need it.