Stephen Drew ‘ready to go’ after signing new deal
|05.21.14 at 6:38 pm ET|
The phone call finally came Tuesday for Stephen Drew. The 31-year-old finally had a team again after waiting since the beginning of the offseason for the right offer.
Once Drew rejected the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer that the Red Sox extended to him immediately after the World Series, an unexpected scenario unfolded. In part because the rejection of that qualifying offer meant that teams would have to part with a draft pick to secure his services, no teams came calling with the multi-year deal that he and his agent Scott Boras were looking for.
Drew was stuck in a pickle. No team wanted to give up both the pick and the kind of contract that the shortstop had anticipated. At the same time, the Red Sox looked as if they were committing to their youth and subsequently felt comfortable moving on from Drew, with Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks occupying the left side of the infield.
But when the Red Sox placed Middlebrooks on the disabled list with a broken finger on Sunday, the in-house options to replace the third baseman were Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera.
And that is what drew the Red Sox to Drew.
“It’s been interesting, needless to say,” Drew said. “I’m glad to be back in a Red Sox uniform and I couldn’t ask for anything better. The guys here, I know them and I had a great year last year and just getting ready for whatever, preparing myself like everyone does in the offseason and being able to come back here, I can’t thank the organization enough for thinking about me. The guys in the clubhouse are what matter the most and what they think about me.”
In order to stay in baseball shape, Drew, who hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs last year with the Red Sox, has been working out seven days a week to stay in peak physical condition. Drew has spent time down in Miami working out in addition to spending time at Valdosta State near his home in Georgia. Every day, Drew got to work at around 9 a.m. and would progress through his game day routine until about 1 p.m. Drew is not worried about his physical condition because of the work that he put in on a day-to-day basis while he was teamless.
“I know I worked hard and nothing I had to worry about there,” Drew said. “I put the time and effort I needed to be ready for this moment because I knew it would happen quick. I didn’t know where, but like I said, I am excited to be back here because the guys that I do know and the guys they added, it’s still a tight race.”
Drew was prepared to stay in free agent limbo until after the MLB draft, when teams would no longer have to forfeit a draft pick in order to sign him, a result of the qualifying offer the Red Sox offered him prior to free agency. Drew did not hear anything from Boston until this past Sunday, the same day the team placed Middlebrooks on the disabled list. Even though Drew knew that a potentially more lucrative offer was waiting for him after the draft, he was ready to go.
“There were going to be teams there,” Drew said. “I’m not going to say there wasn’t and it’s just the qualifying offer deal and nobody wanted to give up a draft pick and Boston was in hand where they didn’t have to do that and like I said, I’m excited to be back and excited to have these guys here. It seems like I haven’t left, which is a great feeling and I’m excited to get back and get going and get playing.”
The addition of Drew pushes Bogaerts over to third base, recreating the infield that was on the field for the last out of the World Series. Although Bogaerts displayed his disappointment following Tuesday’s loss with being moved over to third base, Drew does not believe that there will be any issues with the 21-year-old.
“Coming into this situation, what it boils down to is you look at last year and how it happened and how well [Bogaerts] played third,” Drew said. “I’m not saying he won’t be a shortstop, it’s just something with Will breaking his finger and needing help, I think this presented itself and I think he will feel comfortable with it. Myself and the whole team. That doesn’t change that he’s a great player and he is young. He is 21-years-old and he’s done great. You guys saw that last year so with all of this talk with me coming back, it’s something that is going to help the team and hopefully that get resolved quick.”
Drew has not yet talked to the team about the minor league assignment that will allow him to get his feet under him, but is looking forward to getting into game action shortly.
“The biggest thing is if they needed me, I’m there,” Drew said. “I’ve done all the baseball activity that I can do with the circumstances that I had so the assignment, I haven’t even sat down right now and talked to them about that yet. I think that there will be a time to sit down and figure out when and where and how long. If circumstances come up and they need me, I’m going to be there.”
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