BOSTON — The emergence of Xander Bogaerts certainly lessens the Red Sox’ concern over potentially losing shortstop Stephen Drew. It doesn’t, however, change Ben Cherington‘s offseason philosophy too much.
Cherington placed an emphasis on building the deepest team possible in 2013, and it proved to be a winning formula. Boston was able to use its depth to overcome occasional bumps and bruises, while also keeping fresh for the duration of a 162-game regular-season grind and an ensuing World Series run. Cherington would like to mirror that strong depth in 2014, and thus, he’s looking for some infield help, even if it’s in the form of a backup player.
“We think if we do nothing, we’ll get more out of third base than we did this year. That’s our hope and expectation given the players that are here,” Cherington said Monday. “We’d like to add some, at least somebody on the left side of the infield. Whether that’s more in the form of an everyday player or depth, whatever that is, it just depends on how the rest of our offseason unfolds. But in the interests of building as deep a team as we can, that is an area — left side of the infield — that we’d like to add some depth to if we can, if the opportunity is there. We’re not close to anything.”
Drew was solid in his first — and perhaps only — season as Boston’s shortstop. He hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs in 124 games, while providing excellent defense up the middle. The 30-year-old is arguably the best infielder available on the open market besides Robinson Cano, though. And as such, it seems likely that he’ll ultimately land a multiyear contract that’s deemed too rich for Boston’s blood.
In the event that Drew leaves, Bogaerts will likely become the team’s starting shortstop while Will Middlebrooks retains his post at third base. Middlebrooks put together a disappointing 2013 season, hitting just .227 with a .271 on-base percentage and 98 strikeouts in 94 games. Between his struggles and Bogaerts’ limited big league experience, it’s easy to see why Cherington is checking out the infield market as we head toward December.