Lost in Red Sox fans’ bile toward Stephen Drew, lost in the redemptive nature of his 2-for-4, four RBI performance against his former club last weekend, lost in the fact he’s struggling just as badly at the plate in New York as he was in Boston, is that the Red Sox and Yankees actually partnered on a trade.
“Once they declared themselves the way they did, I floated a text Ben Cherington’s way and we worked really quickly off of that,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
And voila. The Yankees got a second baseman; the Red Sox got some salary relief and moved Xander Bogaerts back to short.
The last time the two clubs hooked up was 17 years ago: August 13, 1997. The Sox, out of the playoff race, swapped former Yankee backstop Mike Stanley (a 1995 All-Star for the Bombers), back to New York for Tony Armas, Jr.
Stanley, by this point in his career more of a 1B/DH type, logged just 87 at-bats with New York, hitting .287 and tallying three homers and 12 RBI. After being granted free agency, Stanley signed with Toronto, who shipped him back to Boston at the ’98 deadline for two prospects. Stanley would go on to be a key contributor for two consecutive Red Sox playoff teams.
But then, seventeen seasons of silence. The Yankees won three straight World Series championships at the start of the era, but the Red Sox eventually broke through to the winners’ circle, and have wrested more trophies than the Yankees (three to one) in the last decade. With so much on the line in the division, it’s not surprising that the teams don’t deal amongst themselves. But the trend goes back even further.
The move that appeared to sink any diplomatic relations between the two teams was the Sparky Lyle-Danny Cater trade of 1972, in which the Red Sox dealt one of the most dominant relief pitchers of the 1970’s for a utility infielder. No wonder deals between the two clubs have been so infrequent; the Sox had a right to be gun shy after that one.
But in 2014, Drew to New York made sense for both clubs. At the time. The second baseman is hitting .154 since he changed from red socks to navy pinstripes. I doubt the Red Sox’ return in the trade (Kelly Johnson) will pan out like Lyle did for the Yankees (three All-Star teams and the 1977 Cy Young Award), but Drew is definitely doing his best Danny Cater.