The Red Sox are being patient when it comes to Stephen Drew.
Drew is the only one of the Red Sox’ four major free agents this offseason without a new contract. And according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, the Sox are planning to wait out to see what type of market develops for the shortstop before looping back in with a definitive offer.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signed with the Yankees and Marlins, respectively, last week before the Red Sox re-signed Mike Napoli to a two-year deal worth a reported $32 million. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Saturday expressed interest in also re-signing Drew, although it’s possible that doing so will require Boston to get creative.
“We’ve had off-and-on dialogue, nothing too recent, but certainly leaving the door open still. We’ll leave the door open still. We feel pretty good about our alternative at shortstop, but we’ll see what happens the rest of the way,” Cherington said. “We’re still exploring different things, different ways to potentially improve the team. I think we’ve probably shifted more toward — assuming we get a deal done with the first baseman [Napoli] — we’ve probably shifted more toward opportunistic this offseason, maybe. And sort of looking at different scenarios, different ideas, and maybe nothing comes of those because we feel pretty good about where we are right now.”
If Drew signs elsewhere, the Red Sox could begin the 2014 season with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks serving as the starting shortstop and third baseman, respectively. It’s a scenario that Boston is comfortable with, although Cherington stated earlier this winter that he’d like to add another piece to the left side of the infield, even if it’s someone who will play a backup role.
The Red Sox offered Drew a $14.1 million qualifying offer at the beginning of free agency, but the 30-year-old rejected it in favor of seeking a multiyear deal on the open market. It’s possible that Drew could eventually land a multiyear deal, but there’s also a chance that the draft-pick compensation that’s attached to him by way of Boston’s qualifying offer could hurt his market to the point where signing a one-year deal with the Red Sox and hitting free agency again next offseason could be his best move.
Drew hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs in 2013 while also providing plus-defense at shortstop.
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