Why the Yankees still want Stephen Drew

Stephen Drew is far from a fan favorite. But the Yankees see value in him. AP Images/Colin E. Braley

The Yankees are finalizing a one-year contract with Stephen Drew that will pay him $5 million. If he plays a lot, he can push his salary to $7 million. The deal could be done by the end of the week.

Drew is not popular with the Yankees fan base, but here in January the Bombers see value in a player who was originally looking in the $8 million-plus range.

Competing: When camp opens next month, Drew will be competing with Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela for the second base job. He also will offer insurance at short with Sir Didi Gregorius and Brendan Ryan.

At second, Drew should be the favorite, if he shows he hasn't completely forgotten how to hit. He batted .162 last year with the Red Sox and Yankees, striking out an incredible 75 times in 271 at-bats.

While the Yankees will likely present the competition as a race without a lead horse, Refsnyder probably would be aided by spending more time at Triple-A learning second. Refsnyder and Pirela could be utility guys on the big club. I would give Pirela a slight edge to break camp with the Yankees.

Depth: Drew offers protection and competition for Gregorius. If Gregorius struggles, then Drew could step in at short -- if, again, he can hit. Drew can play second, short and third. The Yankees' middle infield defense will be much improved with Gregorius, Drew and Ryan.

If Drew plays well, but the Yanks don't ... If Drew bounces back but the Yankees are not in contention this year, they could trade him. He could become an asset and eventually could be exchanged for a younger player. That plays into the Yanks' logic.

But he stinks: Yes, yes, I know, Twitter followers, you do not think Drew is very good. He gave you little reason to believe he can be a regular with how he performed last year. His excuse of not having a spring training is now gone and he will need to produce. It should be pointed out, though, he turns only 32 in March.

But no, he really stinks: If he does, the Yankees will simply let him go. Hal will be $5 million and some luxury change lighter in the wallet and you can go on with your life.

Doubling down: The Yankees' worst-case scenario at shortstop this winter was to sign Drew. The Gregorius trade presented itself so the Yanks were prepared to move on. Now, at a $5 million base, the Yankees decided to add Drew, too. Drew can make some more money, if he plays well.

Left-handed compliment: Buster Olney has an interesting Insider blog about how left-handed the Yankees are, which could be an advantage with the lack of top lefties in the AL East.

The lineup: I'm sure Joe Girardi will be very forthcoming on the first day of spring training (yes, sarcasm), but here is what I would say for right now. Alex Rodriguez, of course, is the wild card, but I'm going to put him in there because, why not?

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

2. Brett Gardner, LF

3. Carlos Beltran, RF

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Mark Teixeira, 1B

6. Rodriguez, DH

7. Chase Headley, 3B

8. Gregorius, SS

9. Drew, 2B

Garrett Jones or Pirela could be the DH instead of A-Rod. Headley and McCann could be in different spots in the order, but that is what you are likely looking at to start 2015.

Are the Yankees done? It sort of looks as though they are pretty much set. However, they have acquired so many players that new trade possibilities could come up between now and Opening Day.

Question: So what do you think?