As expected, the Red Sox have shown their presence on the shortstop market this offseason. With Jose Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco the best in house options, acquiring a player on a short, incentive laden deal seems like a smart move. Stephen Drew is a player who could fit this demographic, after a decent comeback season between Arizona and Oakland after an injury riddled 2011. With a decent bat and a good glove, the 29 year old could provide a veteran presence amidst a team which looks to be full of turmoil.
After missing 76 games in 2011 due to ankle problems, Drew missed his share of time early in 2012. Recovering from his broken right ankle, he finally completed the long road back to the majors on June 27. However, when on the field, Drew was not effective for the Diamondbacks– hitting just .193/.290/.309. On July 30, however, the Oakland A’s took a gamble on Drew and sent prospect Sean Jamieson to Arizona for Drew’s services. Drew rediscovered his hitting upon his arrival in Oakland, and hit to the tune of .250/.326/.382 with 5 home runs and 16 RBIs.
If Drew can stay fully healthy for 2013 and re-discover what he had in the early part of his career, he could post very good numbers. His 162-game average is .265/.328/.433 with 15 home runs and 70 RBIs. He will be 30 on Opening Day 2013, and could probably numbers similar or better than his 162-game average given his age and experience.
With respectable hitting mixed with his solid range and good arm at a tough position, Drew is easily the top free agent shortstop. He has potential to be an All-Star, but being a solid regular is probably more likely. Still, with the huge amount of free space on the Red Sox’ payroll, it would be worth giving him a one year deal to prove himself. Given his ceiling, he may command a contract for something around 1 year/$7 million. As long as it’s a one year deal, the Red Sox can afford to give Drew what he wants. In a perfect world, they could fill the deal with incentives for stats like games played and plate appearances to give him extra reason to stay healthy. Even if they can’t get by with that, though, Drew should provide a very solid player if healthy and would be a good fit in Boston.