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'Overpaid'

J.D Drew is making $14 million this year to hit .230 with 4 homeruns. All the while his stoicism makes him seem like he would rather be anywhere else but playing a boys game for millions of dollars every summer.

This year's minimum wage for a major leaguer is $414,o00. So, when infielder Angel Sanchez - this year's #2 hitter for the Astros (sorry Millsy) - played one game for the Sox last year he earned something like $2,500 for a day's work.

Are they worth it?

This is a question that comes up often - especially in the person on J.D. "Nancy" Drew. He's carried the team at times, usually had a very high on-base percentage, decent power numbers, wonderful defense, and played about 130-140 games in 3 of his first 4 years here. But he also gets paid a massive sum while playing a joyless - if solid - brand of baseball. He has a reputation as being soft and underachieving.

But my question has always been: why do we the fans care what the rightfielder is paid?

There's an interesting desire for a sense of fairness that raises its head in the context of "overpaid" major leaguers. We like to think a player can be worth what's he's paid. We base that analysis largely on how a player's salary compares to other players. Then we ask:

How did that player play compared to players in the same tax bracket?
Drew is the 11th highest paid outfielder in the majors. Only 3 of the players paid more than him would I actually take over him (Carl Crawford, Matt H0lliday, and Ichiro). In that context, he's no more overpaid than a number of other folks like Jason Bay and Vernon Wells.

How does he compare to his teammates?
Drew is the 4th highest paid player on the Sox (behind Beckett, Lackey and Crawford). So that means he's more valuable than Youk and Peddy!?!? For shame! However, that's a simplistic analysis. Youk and Peddy are shorter tenured and have not tested the free agent market. They - along with another of other prominent younger, homegrown Sox - decided to sign long-term deals before they hit the market. They chose security over maximum dollars. That's the anti-Drew approach. Drew is loathed in Philly for holding out for a whole year rather than sign a deal with them, then signing a big ground-breaking contract with St. Louis the next year. He's always gone for max dollars - adding to his bad reputation. Scott Boras probably has a bronzed statue of Drew in his lobby as the ideal client.

How did he live up to expectations?
Drew came to the Sox with oddly high expectations. His first 8 full season were pretty similar to his next 4 with the Sox. But he's always been a big name with a beautiful swing, tons of talent, and an aura of under-utilized talent.

So, that's part of the story of the lens through which fans see J.D. Drew's contract.

But why do we care?

J.D. Drew's contact really don't matter when it comes to whether or not the Sox win. At no point has Drew's contract really prevented the Sox' leadership from stepping up and paying for the talent they want. Just look at Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.

Second, the money isn't really ours. Indirectly, we are the people that put in the money - in ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, etc. - that make these salaries possible. But I don't feel like I'm paying J.D. Drew.

It comes down to a sense of fairness. It's not fair that he gets paid that to be a decent player! He should at least play with the dirtdog approach of his predecessor Trot Nixon (left) or manic passion of Peddy.

The fact is the J.D. Drew was paid what the market wanted to pay him at the time. He has been a solid player until now. But he'll always be disliked in Boston - albeit slightly less than in Philly. I somehow don't expect to see Drew talking baseball in the NESN pre-game in the future. He'll fade into history unceremoniously - perhaps as soon as this winter - and Sox fan's will complain about him for years despite not really having a reason to hate him so much.

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