Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report that Stephen Drew has finally done what he should have done at the end of last season. He’s signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Sources: #RedSox sign Drew.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 20, 2014
Last fall the Red Sox had to offer Drew the customary qualifying offer of $14.1 million for the 2014 season. He turned them down in order to be on the free-agent market but no wanted to sign him. A large part of that is that Drew had a draft pick tied to him, meaning that if he signed with another team the Red Sox would get that team’s highest draft pick. This was the scenario for quite a few other players as well. Many stayed on the market until teams got desperate with the new season was looming.
Pitchers Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez along with position players Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz, all made the same decision as Drew. They did not accept their now former teams’ qualifying offers. They remained the main players who still had not found homes by the beginning of spring training.
Jimenez was finally signed by the Baltimore Orioles because he was the only good option left to fulfill their starting rotation needs. The Orioles were forced to give up a draft pick to the Cleveland Indians as compensation for Jimenez. Santana was signed at the last minute as the panicking Atlanta Braves saw two of their star pitchers go down with torn ulnar collateral ligaments requiring Tommy John surgery, rendering them out for the entire year.
The Orioles ended up down two draft picks when they signed Cruz. It appears they felt the need for a consistent power hitter in their line up now as opposed to a prospect to be used later. Cruz had proven himself to be a force at the plate during his many years with the Texas Rangers. Thus, Baltimore’s second draft pick was now property of the Rangers.
Until today both Drew and first baseman Kendrys Morales were still on the market, waiting for teams to sign them. Morales, now alone in his quest to find a place to play, will more than likely end up waiting until after the June 5 draft to get any offers. After the draft, the draft pick that had been lingering over his head will disappear giving teams more options. Losing a high draft pick is not a general manager’s greatest ambition.
So the Red Sox have signed Drew, who will make $10 million for playing the remainder of the season. His salary is a pro-rated version of the $14.1 million he would have made if he had played the entire season. At the end of the season he will again become a free agent, but he will no longer be tied to a compensatory draft pick according to Rosenthal.
Rosenthal gave the common sense reminder that the Red Sox will not receive the draft pick as if some other team had signed Drew.
Apparently the New York Mets were suddenly interested in Drew as well, according to reports Tuesday. While the Mets may have been interested in Drew they are not necessarily in need of a short stop and signing Drew after the draft would have been the way to go. Plus, it is highly questionable if Drew is really worth $10 million for three quarters of a season. His numbers last year with Boston were fairly average. He hit .253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI.
Since the Red Sox were able to sign Drew without giving up a draft pick while spending less money than they had offered him in October, the signing makes sense. The saga of Stephen Drew that has been an ongoing story for almost seven months has finally come to an end. It’s an ironic ending actually but it is probably what should have just happened in the first place.