Free Agent Watch: Stephen Drew


Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning during game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Only six months removed from being the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox in a World Series winning year, free agent Stephen Drew is still looking for a new home. Despite being one of the premier defensive shortstops in the game, only days from opening day, Drew is still yet to find a suitor. Despite much interest and many rumours circulating the baseball world, a deal is still to be struck.

The New York Mets appeared to be front-runners in the Drew sweepstakes before Spring Training began. Ruben Tejada is currently penciled in to be their everyday shortstop, but he has had a truly terrible spring which only adds to the concerns that existed well before Spring Training began.

In 15 spring games, Tejada compiled an unacceptable .190 batting average, and struck out nine times. Defensively, he made three errors in only 99 innings in the infield. Last season in the majors, in 57 games he batted .202 whilst batting in only ten runners. He also had a rather poor fielding percentage at .969, committing eight errors in only 499 innings.

The Mets have a rather strong roster headed into this season, and many believe that a move for Drew would give the Mets a genuine chance at playing October ball. However, they have already splashed millions on high-end free agents such as Bartolo Colon and Curtis Granderson. Furthermore, they have already surrendered their top, unprotected, draft pick. In signing Drew they would have to surrender another.

As many have claimed, teams like the Mets could wait until after the draft so they won’t lose another draft pick. Then they can make a move for Drew. The Detroit Tigers were heavily linked to Drew upon losing Jose Iglesias for the season after he was diagnosed with stress fractures in both shins. However, they filled this void when they traded for shortstop Alex Gonzalez from the Baltimore Orioles.

On the other side of New York in the Bronx, the New York Yankees are also said to be interested in Drew. With injury plagued Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter all set to be everyday players for the Yankees and minimal infield depth, they could do with some infield help. Furthermore, Kelly Johnson, who is penciled in to be their everyday third baseman, has only played 14 games in the hot corner in all of his career.

Given that the Yankees have already splashed hundreds upon hundreds of millions and consequentially surrendered their top three draft picks on big free agents, signing Drew wouldn’t be a problem financially for them. If inked on a multi-year-deal, he could play all over the infield this year and take the place of the great Jeter when he retires at the end of the season.

Evidently, Drew fits in quite nicely on either side of New York, but neither franchise has made even the smallest effort to pursue the shortstop. The Los Angeles Dodgers also have a void in their infield which could be neatly filled by Drew. Currently, Dee Gordon or Justin Turner are set to be the Dodgers everyday second baseman, with injury prone Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, and converted benchman Juan Uribe at third.

Stephen Drew could be a nice addition for the Californian Giants. He claimed, himself, during the offseason, that he is ready to play third, second and obviously shortstop in the forthcoming season. What this means for the Dodgers is that he could play second base for them for the majority of the year whilst providing cover for Ramirez and Uribe when necessary. All the while, Cuban rookie Alexander Guerrero is trying to become major-league-ready.

There is a fairly good market for Drew, providing the price is right. Given that he was previously offered the one-year-$14-million I doubt he would settle for any less. Nonetheless, with opening day practically upon us, if Drew wants to play a full season in 2014, he may well have to consider a pay cut.