Stephen Drew finally came in from the free-agent cold Tuesday, reportedly signing a contract with — ta, da! — the Boston Red Sox, the team he played with in 2013. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had the news first, and it leaves slugger Kendrys Morales as the lone holdout of a strange free-agent class.
Drew's one-year deal reportedly is for a prorated amount of the $14 million qualifying offer he and agent Scott Boras declined in the offseason — about $10 million. Draft pick compensation attached to qualifying offers affected the market of several players who turned down their former teams.
Boras has said the system is broken, and that's why Drew never signed a long-term deal and Morales (another of his clients) is still free, so he probably won't ever admit to making a mistake. But Drew cost himself at least $4 million because of Boras' reading of the market. That is black and white and green.
What will the Red Sox do with Drew, who helped them win the World Series a season ago after batting .253./.333/.443 with 13 home runs and strong defense at short?
Red Sox beat person Brian MacPherson speculates in the Providence Journal that Drew would have signed elsewhere if he were willing to move off shortstop. Boston has been playing Xander Bogaerts at short and several players at third after giving another chance to Will Middlebrooks in spring training. Middlebrooks is hurt and the Red Sox are sputtering along. Expect Drew to play every day at shortstop as soon as he's able, which means Bogaerts would move positions. Bogaerts projects to be a star shortstop someday, perhaps soon, but he also can handle third full time, even if it's not ideal for his development on defense.
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