PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 20: Stephen Drew #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is looked at by trainers, manger Kirk Gibson, Ryan Roberts #14 and coaches after he was injured attempting to score against the Milwaukee Brewers during the fifth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 20, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Drew was injured on the play and taken out of the game. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
A slightly-extended version of SnakeSounds this evening, as we discuss the implications of Stephen Drew's horrific injury this evening. As was already recorded, Drew broke his ankle sliding into home-plate during the fourth inning of this evening's contest against the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase. It was immediately obvious that this was a very serious incident, and the news was every bit as bad as expected - his 2011 season is basically over, with surgery likely. [Though we should remember that his was not the only broken bone suffered in tonight's bizarre contest] What does this mean for the Diamondbacks going forward?
The most likely replacement scenario has Willie Bloomquist becoming the everyday replacement at shortstop, and it seems probably that Cody Ransom will be brought up from Reno to take Drew's spot on the roster. Ransom - whom my fingers keep wanting to call Cody Random - was removed from the Aces game in the top of the fifth inning. He was raking there: in 91 games at Triple-A, he was hitting .330 with a team-leading 25 homeruns and 86 RBI. However, before we get too excited by this, I should mention that the resulting 1.060 OPS puts Ransom slightly below Sean Burroughs (1.067) and slightly above Robbie Hammock (1.038), among Aces hitters.
That said, be nice to have a local kid on the team - he was born in Mesa, and went to Chandler High School, before being picked by the Giants in the 1998 draft. Yeah, he's been around a bit: made his major-league debut in 2001, and has played parts of eight seasons with four different organizations. However, never more than 86 PAs in a single year, and his career line of .227/.311/.391 - an OPS+ of 82 - gives you some idea of roughly what to expect from the 35-year old. Yep: he's close to two years older than Bloomquist.
Drew started off the season on fire, but his output had gone downhill steadily: He hit .321 in April, with a .920 OPS, but in both May and June, he was hitting in the .240's, with an OPS just below .700. July had been unkinder still, even before this evening's disaster: he had managed a mere eight hits, hitting .174. He'll finish the year with a line of .252/.317/.396, which will actually be his lowest OPS since 2007. The injury probably also weakens the team's chances of trading Drew this winter, as had been suggested - 2012 is his last year under contract, before he and agent Scott Boras hit free-agency.
So, the loss of Drew, will obviously not helping the Diamondbacks' chances of winning the division, is probably not as devastating as it would have felt, had the injury happened in early May. Bloomquist and Ransom will likely not bat far off Drew's season average of .251, and he had only five home-runs (just one since June 11), so he wasn't much of a power threat this year. I think his defense might be missed as much as anything: Drew was quietly efficient, and had posted a positive UZR for this campaign and the two prior to it. That said, keeping Bloomquist out of RF is probably a good thing.
Right, on to the audio clippage from tonight's game. Understandably subdued, we have Kirk Gibson, Joe Saunders, Justin Upton, Willie Bloomquist and, before making his (fairly disastrous) debut tonight, Ryan Cook. Maybe Gibson can explain the decision to use his seventh-best reliever, a man with no major-league experience, in a tied game.