Stephen Drew has signed. After holding out the entire offseason for a new contract, the shortstop has agreed to terms with the Boston Red Sox on a one-year, $10.17 million deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The deal is a prorated qualifying-offer type deal due to the fact that Drew has missed the first 43 games of the Red Sox season.
Drew has not signed with a team for multiple factors. First, at the end of last season, the Boston Red Sox offered Drew a $14.1 million qualifying offer, which he declined. This meant that any team that signed Drew, besides the Red Sox, would have to give up their top remaining pick. This will not be the case for Drew in 2014, as a player needs to spend the entire season with a club in order to be eligible for a qualifying offer.
Drew's agent, Scott Boras, has been using Drew and free agent Kendrys Morales as leverage to try and get Major League Baseball to tweak the qualifying offer system. Drew's deal with the Red Sox just came together in the past two days, according to reports, so it is real that the shortstop received little interest from any clubs. Having Major League Baseball tweak the qualifying offer system is another issue that needs to be resolved, but it seems that Drew just wanted to get back to playing baseball instead of waiting for a long-term deal.
Drew has signed a Major League deal and will be added to the Red Sox roster, but he will report to the minor leagues in order to get into MLB game shape. He will get 25 at bats in the minors, according to manager John Farrell (via Nick Cafardo on Twitter). He has been participating in simulated games, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, but that is far from the competitiveness of the MLB.
The 31-year-old Drew hit a triple-slash line of .253/.333/.433 with 13 home runs and 67 runs batted in (111 OPS+), appearing at the plate 501 times in 124 games, while serving as the Red Sox shortstop. He had signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Red Sox before the season. Over his career, Drew has posted a .264/.329/.435 triple-slash line while averaging 16 home runs and 72 runs batted in a 162-game average over his eight seasons. He will resume his career at shortstop with the Red Sox, meaning that Xander Bogaerts will slide over to third base.
The Red Sox' players are very happy that Drew is back, according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. The Red Sox are 20-23 so far this season and are currently sitting in third place in the American League East. Drew just might be the spark they need to get on a roll to take back the top spot in the division that has no clear cut team to beat, as all five teams are separated by five games. Maybe Drew will shoot the Red Sox back to the top. They can only hope so.