The lull of the baseball offseason, specifically this long stretch of nothingness from January until pitchers and catchers report, can put a diehard baseball fan like myself to sleep. Many of the big name free agents have already found new destinations, and besides the looming deadline for Masahiro Tanaka, much of the baseball landscape remains quiet.
But for the returning 2013 World Series Champions, there is still a huge question that has yet to be answered: Who will be playing SS when the Red Sox take the field on March 31st?
Stephen Drew remains unsigned and is reportedly still looking for a team to make a multi-year offer. The Red Sox would seemingly be the favorites considering the market hasn’t jumped at the chance to grab the 31-year-old veteran, but the fact that he is represented by Scott Boras always makes things tricky.
My feeling is that a two-year deal is asking too much of the Red Sox. Much like the case with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Sox only need Drew to be a stop-gap for one year before guys like Xander Bogaerts or Deven Merraro can step in. If Drew is going to be wearing a Boston uniform in 2014, he will have to accept a one-year deal on a championship contending team, which seems like a pretty nice gig if you ask me.
Despite the fact that Drew struggled with injuries in 2013, he still managed to start 124 games for the Sox last year, providing some pop in the bottom of the lineup and a solid glove in the middle infield. He was 5th in RBIs among all Major League shortstops last season and ranked 3rd in fielding percentage at .984 percent.
If the Sox are able to retain Drew, his veteran presence could be a relief to the organization, who would be heavily relying on the inexperienced trio of Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. for a ton of production if Drew signs elsewhere.
That’s not to say that Bogaerts isn’t capable of stepping up and performing at a high level, because I believe he is going to be a fantastic ballplayer. The presence he showed throughout the postseason, and especially in the World Series, was amazing. But with Drew in Boston, the hot-and-cold Middlebrooks wouldn’t have to be an everyday starter right out of the gate, and instead, could split time with Bogaerts ,easing the pressure as he tries to rebound from a shaky 2013.
Whatever happens, it appears the Red Sox’ brass will fully confident with either option moving forward.
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