Free agency has not been kind to Stephen Drew recently, but the veteran shortstop has found a new home heading into the 2015 season. The team announced the move on Friday, Jan. 16:
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported that Drew had decided to rejoin the New York Yankees:
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman first reported that a deal was close.
The last two times Drew was a free agent, after 2012 and 2013, he had to settle for one-year deals. He battled injuries during the 2012 season that limited him to 79 games with Arizona and Oakland, so Boston was able to get him at a bargain at $9.5 million in 2013.
However, because Drew posted a solid .253/.333/.443 slash line and played good defense at shortstop, the Red Sox made him a $14.1 million qualifying offer after he helped the team win a World Series. He turned it down.
With teams having to forfeit a draft pick to sign Drew, his market never really developed last winter, and he didn't sign with anyone until Boston came calling with a one-year deal for $10 million in May.
The long layoff clearly took a toll on Drew, who had the worst offensive season of his career with a .162/.237/.299 slash line in 85 games with the Red Sox and Yankees.
One interesting wrinkle to Drew's free agency this time around was provided by his agent, Scott Boras (h/t Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal), who said the 31-year-old would be open to playing second base:
Switching positions would help Drew's versatility, but it would also take away part of what makes him so valuable. FanGraphs indicates that his ability to play shortstop and put up the numbers he did in 2013 made him worth 3.4 wins above replacement (WAR).
Age is catching up to Drew, as are the years of injuries that cost him much of his prime, but he's not regressed to the point where a position change is a necessity.
If playing second base is what helped get Drew signed, then surely he will be more than happy to do whatever his new team wants after the debacle that happened last year. He could turn out to be a great bargain once again with a full spring training to prepare for the season.
Stats via Baseball-Reference.com.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.