The Stephen Drew Saga: Red Sox Not Walking Away Just Yet
The Boston Red Sox will not re-sign shortstop Stephen Drew based on the fact that he wants a multi-year deal and plans on exploring other offers sources told ESPN on Wednesday night. At least that was the message was last night, only to hear from Rob Bradford of WEEI today that a team source indicated the Red Sox “haven’t closed the door” on a Drew reunion.
It’s been common knowledge that Drew is one of the top rated shortstops on the free-agent market this winter and with Scott Boras as his agent, you know they will extract every penny possible from a club that desperately needs an upgrade at the position.
For the Boston Red Sox, not retaining Drew isn’t the end of the world and to use the words that the Fenway faithful have grown to love every time Shane Victorino walks to the plate, “everything little thing, gonna be alright.” Yes, it sure will be.
Offering Drew a three or four-year deal worth anywhere from $12-$15 million annually doesn’t fit the Red Sox plans for several reasons.
The first and most noticeably is the rise of Xander Bogaerts who has already shown he can perform on the game’s biggest stage. The idea of keeping Drew and having Bogaerts play third base is an option but not when the price-tag for Drew is going to be sky high. Bogaerts will likely shift back to his natural position at short and allow Will Middlebrooks to regain his spot at the hot corner.
Second, is Stephen Drew worthy of let’s say $15 million a year? Scott Boras sure thinks he is and there’s a good chance he’ll get it for his 30-year old client given the demand that is said to be taking shape. Anytime the New York Yankees are involved you can expect the price to rise. Rumors from yesterday have the Bronx Bombers showing interest in Drew as a potential backup/platoon with the aging and recovering Derek Jeter, who’s ankle injury has the club concerned.
Bradford also notes that the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals have also expressed interest in Drew’s services and given the hole at shortstop in St. Louis, they may be prepared to part ways with the draft pick it would cost to sign him.
Drew had a career high 67 RBI last year with his slash line finishing slightly above his career averages. In other words, re-signing a career .264 hitter with an OBP of .333 may not be worth the annual salary that Drew will seek. His defense is above average which could be an argument the other way, but in the end, tying up a 30-year old shortstop who may hit slightly higher than .250 with maybe 15 home runs for three years or more isn’t worth it. Not when you have a 20-year old superstar in the making ready to take over the job.
Also considering that the Red Sox want to come in under the luxury tax ceiling to avoid financial penalties, allocating the money that it would cost to keep Drew on other needs like catcher and first base take priority in this case.
So as the Stephen Drew saga continues to turn, the world outside of the offices on Yawkey Way continue to wait. Considering it’s Stephen Drew that Sox fans are waiting on, it’s not worth holding your breath over. In all honesty, it’s one door that Ben Cherington should close and have one less distraction from assembling the best team possible for next season.