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In my first ever post for Sports of Boston I wrote about how the Red Sox should bring back Stephen Drew on a two-year deal. Three months later and not much has changed on Drew’s front. His agent Scott Boras is still waiting for a market to materialize and the Red Sox hold all the leverage. There is no doubt that Xander Bogaerts is the shortstop of the future for the Red Sox, but it will not hurt him to play his first couple years at third base.
When Drew’s bat failed in the postseason, John Farrell kept him in the lineup. Why? His defense was a
stabilizing force that was essential to their World Series run. His plays throughout the ALCS and the World Series helped keep off the board and snuff rallies. While he is often criticized for not being great with the bat, Drew is actually an above-average shortstop. Outside of 2012 when he only played 79 games because of an ankle injury, Drew has hit at least 20 doubles in his last 7 seasons (and has averaged over 11 home runs a season).
Having Stephen Drew at shortstop indirectly affects third base as well. With Drew on board, Bogaerts will get the majority of the at-bats at hot corner and he is a better defender than Middlebrooks. An exploration of a Middlebrooks trade could also happen with the signing of Drew.
The closer we inch to Spring Training the more likely Drew will be donning a Red Sox uniform. Scott Boras has been unable to create much of a market for Drew and the Red Sox hold considerable leverage. Both New York teams seem like logical fits, but the Yankees are still delusional in thinking 39 year old who is coming off a serious ankle injury can still field the position and the Mets claim to be happy with the underachieving Ruben Tejada. The Mets have said they may be amiable to a short term deal, but it would not make sense for Drew to sign short-term anywhere but Boston where he has the best chance to win.
Scott Boras keeps claiming that the market for Drew is there, but he is running out of time. Boras will fight for at least a two year deal because they declined the one year $14.1 million dollar qualifying offer, so it would be embarrassing to get anything less than that. With Spring Training 16 days away, expect Drew to sign in the coming weeks. In the end Drew should receive a contract around two years and $22 million.