How the Yankees might try to solve the Stephen Drew dilemma

Yankees fans have grown impatient with Stephen Drew's struggles at the plate. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

NEW YORK --- Stephen Drew is 1-for-his-past-20. His batting average is .178 and, according to his manager Joe Girardi, Drew is the unluckiest man on the face of the earth.

Girardi thinks that Drew is hitting into bad luck. Hard-hit balls that should be hits are being caught.

While this has been true on occasion, it doesn't explain how over the past season and a half, Drew has had 507 at-bats and just 86 hits, which equals a .170 average. He has 18 home runs in that span, which is pretty good.

Still, .170 is .170. Unlucky or not.

So the New York Yankees -- who still sit atop the tight AL East, despite the 8-1 stinker of a loss to the Rays on Sunday -- will try to figure out what to do at second by the end of the month. They are unsatisfied with Drew's offensive production, but have yet to find a better alternative.

They would gladly eat the rest of the $5 million owed to Drew if they had a solution. In the offseason, a source told ESPN New York upon Drew's signing, that if Drew didn't hit the Yankees would let him go.

The problem for the Yankees is there is no one yet to take Drew's place. So second base is indicative of how the Yankees may approach the July 31 trade deadline. They may be more likely to try to add from within than via a deal.

Jose Pirela, who had a double error at second on Sunday and owns a .203 average, has shown so far he is not the answer, while Triple-A second baseman Rob Refsnyder's glove, according to a Yankees decision-maker, is improving.

Refsnyder, 24, entered today hitting .278 at Triple-A. While it remains unlikely the Yankees would just hand Refsnyder the job, he could be in the mix at some point soon in replacing Pirela. Refsnyder could be eased into second, while keeping Drew around as a security blanket in case Refsnyder is not ready and able.

There are some on social media who believe Brian Cashman should just make a deal for Drew's replacement. Cashman has looked around, but has not found anyone better who is available. Drew does play good defense and hits some home runs. It is not good enough, but it may be better than the alternatives.

The Yankees are not set up to make a big deal anyway because they want to preserve their top youth and do not want future salary issues to weigh down their long-term planning. If the Yankees do make a relatively big trade, Refsnyder is the type of guy who may go.

He is a prospect, but he is a tad below the Yankees' top-tier guys, such as Aaron Judge and Luis Severino, whom they don't want to deal.

Besides the second base situation, the rest of the position players are pretty much set. Once Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran come back from the DL, the Yankees will not have any regular spots that could be in flux. Chris Young will continue to receive a lot of playing time as the fourth outfielder.

The Yankees seem unlikely to add a top starter. Unless prices drop significantly, an ace like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto is probably too expensive. If the Yankees have an injury or want to replace CC Sabathia in the rotation, Adam Warren or Severino could be called upon.

The Yankees' bullpen, with Andrew Miller near returning, is pretty much set. Miller will join Dellin Betances at the back of the pen. Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson will handle the left side. Warren is right-handed and the Yankees are intrigued about turning Bryan Mitchell -- who looked good Sunday -- into an important middle-inning reliever.

Mitchell might be the equivalent of a trade acquisition, though, and is already on the roster. The Yankees are babying his transition from starter to reliever.

Drew is the one, though, the fans don't want to see anymore. They have seen Pirela, but he has yet to get anyone too excited. While Refsnyder might provide a spark, he has to prove he won't hurt the Yankees defensively as Drew does offensively.