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The Boston Red Sox have reportedly signed shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year $9.5 million contract, an effective rental for the 2013 season while shortstop Jose Iglesias develops in the minor leagues. Stephen, the brother of former Sox outfielder J.D. Drew, as well as former MLB pitcher Tim Drew, was considered the strongest free agent shortstop this offseason in a weak market for the position. At age 29, he could be in for a career year to enter free agency again as a top player, and now the Sox get to see firsthand if that plan turns into a reality.
Drew had spent his entire big league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks until he was dealt to the Oakland Athletics last season as a part of their resurgence towards winning the American League West. In 39 games with the Athletics, Drew hit .250/.326/.382, with five home runs and 16 runs batted in. Certainly not the numbers of a legend, but Drew should be a good fit for the Red Sox given their success with the shortstop position since the departure of longtime great Nomar Garciaparra in 2004.
Drew fills the void created after the team traded away Mike Aviles to Toronto, who then passed him along to the Cleveland Indians. There was a thought that the team would begin the year with star prospect Jose Iglesias, who has seen some time at the big league level without much to be excited about. In 25 games last season, he hit just .118/.200/.191, and definitely needs more time in the minor leagues for development. The same can be said for Xander Bogaerts, who may have even more potential than Iglesias.
The addition of Drew gives the Red Sox a solid position player all around the diamond, pending the finalizing of Mike Napoli’s contract. Their projected lineup may look something like this:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
2B Dustin Pedroia (R)
DH David Ortiz (L)
3B Will Middlebrooks (R)
RF Shane Victorino (S)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
SS Stephen Drew (L)
The Sox could now be more willing to part ways with either Bogaerts or Iglesias in the right deal, hopefully for more pitching, where the team has a significant weakness. Drew’s addition completes an extremely potent lineup, and his defense is exceptional among modern shortstops. There is still plenty of time for general manager Ben Cherington to make more deals, but for now the Sox may be set for the 2013 season aside from a few small tweaks.
It will be interesting to see if Stephen is worth the $9.5 million for one season, and whether he’ll be more or less productive than his brother. It seems the Red Sox have overpaid for two different members of the Drew family.