Stephen Drew represents an interesting offseason case for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox made Drew — along with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli — a $14.1 million qualifying offer. Drew can choose to accept the offer and return to Boston on a one-year deal under that salary, reject the offer in order to potentially land a bigger, multiyear deal elsewhere or negotiate a different contract with the Red Sox. One of the first two options seems likely.
Drew put together a solid 2013 season before struggling in the playoffs. He hit .253 with 13 home runs and a career-high-matching 67 RBIs while providing — as manager John Farrell put it — premium defense at shortstop. It was a nice bounce-back year for a veteran who needed to restore some value following two injury-plagued seasons split between Arizona and Oakland.
Granted, Drew hit just .111 (6-for-54) with 19 strikeouts in the postseason. But his impressive glove work remained, and his overall offensive resume for the 2013 season suggests that he’ll garner interest in free agency. Drew is arguably a top-10 shortstop, and that could be enough to land him a multiyear deal on the open market.
It seems unlikely that a multiyear deal would net Drew the same $14.1 million of Boston’s qualifying offer, so basically, it’s up to the 30-year-old to decide whether he’d rather re-sign with the Red Sox for one year at a higher salary or opt for the financial security that comes with a multiyear deal — assuming he receives multiyear offers. If Drew signs elsewhere, the Red Sox — by virtue of extending a qualifying offer — would receive a compensatory draft pick from his new team.