Updates from Monday, June 2
The Red Sox announced that Drew has been added to the MLB roster and is in the lineup:
#RedSox today recalled SS Stephen Drew from Triple-A Pawtucket; Optioned 3B Garin Cecchini to Pawtucket after yesterday’s game.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 2, 2014
6/2 at CLE: Holt 1B, Bogaerts 3B, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Pierzynski C, Gomes LF, Sizemore RF, Drew SS, Bradley Jr. CF, Lackey RHP— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) June 2, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, May 21
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe updated Stephen Drew's status after yesterday's agreement with the Red Sox:
Stephen Drew has passed physical. Has consented to be optioned to minors for 25 AB. Must pass through optional waivers which takes 48 hrs— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) May 21, 2014
General manager Ben Cherington also spoke about Drew and Xander Bogaerts with Zach Links of MLB Trade Rumors:
“I would say that talks picked up over the weekend and into the early part of the week,” the GM said. “We know Stephen well. He did a great job for us last year and he’s a very good Major League shortstop and a good teammate and does a lot of good things that we value…We have a high degree of respect for Stephen, what he can do on the field, and what he can do for our team. We’re happy to have him back on the team.”
When it comes to Bogaerts, Cherington says that after this season, his future could still very well be at shortstop.
“We believe that he can play shortstop well, things have stabilized there. I know he made a couple of errors last night but we believed last year and during Spring Training that he can play shortstop, we still believe that. This move with Stephen is not in any way about a lack of belief that Xander can play short,” Cherington said. “Xander’s ability to play short and third base allowed us to consider different options and alternatives. Stephen just happened to be the one we pursued.”
Stephen Drew is heading back to the Boston Red Sox on a prorated one-year deal after sitting out the early portion of the 2014 MLB season while seeking a long-term contract.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports broke the news on Tuesday:
Sources: #RedSox sign Drew.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 20, 2014
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds Drew will get about $10 million as a part of the prorated qualifying offer from Boston. Signing the qualifying offer also means one won't be assigned to him next offseason:
drew's 1-yr deal for prorated portion of qualifying offer (about $10M) won't subkect him to anothe qualifying offer.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 20, 2014
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal had more on how Drew is expected to fit in the Boston infield:
Confirmed: The plan is, in fact, for Stephen Drew to play shortstop. It follows that Xander Bogaerts would move to third base.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) May 20, 2014
As for when Drew may join the Red Sox, MacPherson and Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe had the latest:
Farrell: Drew physical scheduled for Wednesday. Needs about 25 at-bats to get ready.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) May 20, 2014
Farrell says Drew will need 10-12 days in minors.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) May 20, 2014
The problem for free agents like Drew—players who rejected qualifying offers from their previous team totaling more than $14.1 million—is that they become attached to compensatory first-round draft pick. That's a steep price for interested teams to pay on top of the deal itself.
Back in March, agent Scott Boras talked with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com about the difficult situation the current system places the players in:
The system they've been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency. They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now—and we're still taking offers on those—or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens.
Like any players, they want to play baseball. But they're also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it's placed them in a jail.
He could have waited until after next month's draft to eliminate that factor. Instead, he's reached an agreement to rejoin the team he helped win a World Series last season.
There were other teams interested, but clubs like the Mets weren't interested in giving Drew what he received from the Red Sox, via Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal:
Would the Mets have been willing to give Stephen Drew what the Red Sox gave him? Sandy Alderson says no.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) May 20, 2014
Boston is looking for reinforcements after a sluggish start to its title defense. It sports a 20-23 record just beyond the quarter pole of the season. Bringing back Drew should provide a boost.
Will Drew make a difference for the Red Sox?
Drew gets to join a team where he's already acclimated and doesn't have to worry about going through a similar situation after the season. He also gets to start working his way back to the majors quicker than waiting until after the draft.
The shortstop posted a .777 OPS in 124 games and played plus defense for the Red Sox last season. The numbers should be pretty similar this time around once he rounds into form after the long layoff.
Exactly how long that will take is unclear. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe noted the lack of a timetable and how his teammates wanted him back in the fold:
Unknown how long it will take Stephen Drew to be ready to play. Has been working out in Miami and Georgia. Players really wanted him back.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) May 20, 2014
Drew alone isn't enough to completely overcome Boston's early struggles. He does represent a step in the right direction, though. And with the front office realizing he wasn't going to net it a first-round pick, it made sense to sign him before losing him for nothing after the draft.
All told, it's a good situation for all parties involved.