After he turned down the qualifying offer of $14.1 million for 2014, shortstop Stephen Drew has had his name come up many times in connection to several other teams who would like to have him including the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Yankees have already grabbed Jacoby Ellsbury, so signing Drew, too, would insult Red Sox Nation even more. The Yankees wanted Drew to play third base, but he wants to stay at shortstop.
Drew is a free agent, and he may sign any deal that he wants to sign. CBS Sports.com ranks Drew the #12 free agent position player and highest-ranked shortstop. He is looking more for years than rather than money, and — as MLB.com’s Ian Browne says — Drew and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherintgon have discussed a possible contract. Cherington wants Drew back, but he also knows that Xander Bogaerts, who played third for Boston in the postseason, is a natural shortstop and can play the position just as well as Drew. Browne printed this statement from Cherington in his article:
“We’ve kept the door open. We think we have a pretty good solution at shortstop if Stephen’s not here, but we like Stephen and the job he did. Because of that, we’ve kept the door open. We’re just going to continue to listen and talk and see where it ends up.”
Drew’s agent is Scott Borus, known for getting his clients the highest-paid contracts. Although most of us cannot imagine turning down $14.1 million to play a sport for one year, Borus sees things differently, calling the qualifying offer system (just two years old) unfair. Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe quotes Borus in that regard. Said Borus,
“I don’t think that the qualifying offer system helps major league players in the slightest. I think something really needs to be reviewed. The one thing you want to make sure, fans want to make sure, is that every year you have the opportunity to make the major league team better and still grow in the minor leagues. There should be no barrier.”
Personally, I do not put much stock into what agents say. Borus also represents Bogaerts, so Borus would benefit even more financially if Drew signs elsewhere for more than $14.1 million even if spread out over more time. Bogaerts will eventually reach the point at which he will demand a huge contract as well, so Borus again will reap the financial rewards.
I afford Drew and any other free agent to privilege to negotiate the best contract he can find and even hire an agent to do so. With some exceptions, I just do not think that the agents, specifically Borus, have the players’ best interest at heart. They seem to do what gets themselves the most perks regardless of how it affects the players, teams, or fans — similar to how we feel about most politicians. Just as in politics, each side tends to blame the other while nothing gets done. Either way, the fans end up paying more.
The other side of the argument, which I do consider, is that Drew really does want a multi-year deal, and the qualifying offer — though lucrative — is for only one year. Drew is 30, and as he gets older, the chances of a multi-year contract will start to dwindle. With Bogaerts a budding stud, though, I can certainly understand Cherington’s offer of only one year. Drew could have taken the money and played for a multi-year deal beginning in 2015, but he — also understandably — wants it now.
Drew has the right to check with all other teams and take his time doing so. Cherington — or any other GM for that matter — though, cannot wait too long while the remaining available shortstops and third basemen sign or get traded elsewhere unless he has some top-notch prospects ready to take a Major League leap. Cherington has made offers, but it looks like Drew will most likely find a new team.
There is still plenty of time to make a deal before Spring Training begins in mid-February. However, Drew could have possibly signed with Boston or another team by now. The decision is ultimately Drew’s, but I believe that his agent is making a deal at least a little more difficult.