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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington on Stephen Drew signing: ‘I would make that recommendation again’

06.10.14 at 7:29 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that he did not regret signing shortstop Stephen Drew, and categorically denied that media pressures had pushed the Sox to sign him. Though Drew (who is sitting out of his second straight game on Tuesday with oblique soreness) is 1-for-14, Cherington said that his view of Drew’s value to the roster hadn’t altered.

“He’€™s only played four games,” said Cherington. “It seems pretty early to make a judgment on that one. We all know Stephen Drew is a really good major league player. We all know how good he is. We knew he was stepping back on a major league stage, seeing major league pitching and wouldn’€™t be a little bit surprised if it took him a little while to get the timing back and get comfortable. But we signed him because we thought it would make us better over the course of the season and we still feel that way. I don’€™t have any reason to think he won’t.”

As for whether the Sox agreed with Drew and his agent, Scott Boras, to bring up the shortstop as soon as he’d completed the minimum 10-day optional assignment in the minors, Cherington hinted that there was such an understanding — in part because even before Drew’s return to full game speed, the Sox anticipated a player who would upgrade their roster at a time when Will Middlebrooks had just landed on the DL.

“I don’€™t want to get into the specifics of our discussion before signing him but we definitely felt like given where he was physically at the time of the signing that it wouldn’€™t take him a long time in the minor leagues to be able to help our team,” said Cherington. “There’€™s a difference between being at maximum capacity and full speed with perfect timing and all that, there’€™s a difference between that and helping a major league team. And we felt like Stephen Drew made us a more complete roster, a better, deeper roster, even if he was still working on some things. So we signed him with the understanding that assuming he physically checked out that he’€™d be on the team soon, as soon as we could and that’€™s the way it turned out. We don’€™t have any regrets for that. We also knew we might have to manage his playing time a little bit early on, so it’€™s not unexpected that he’€™s getting a day here and there. All the reasons we signed him are still in place and we’€™ll see how it works out.”

As to whether Drew was signed against the desires of the front office:

“False,” said Cherington. “We know Stephen Drew really well. We signed Stephen Drew because I made a recommendation to ownership to sign Stephen Drew. We had been talking internally for a little while, and then on a Friday, our third baseman got hurt, and we expected, based on the initial evaluation, that Will might miss a significant amount of time. At that point, during that game, we were 20-20, and scratching and clawing for every win and certainly right in the mix in the AL East. We had known, if there was an area on the team that we wanted to add some depth to, it was the left side of the infield. It wasn’t a reflection on any of the players we had. We want as many good players as we can for each spot.

“It happened to be that Will got hurt, Stephen Drew was still out there, he was a free agent, and we felt like, if we didn’t sign him, we might be in position to have to make a trade at some point and give up talent to address, potentially, an area of need, so we have a guy who we trust, who we like, who’s a good player, who’s a trustworthy player, who’s been here and done that who’s available to sign without giving talent, so we did it. I made that recommendation, and I would make that recommendation again.”

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