Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox might need a shortstop, and another one just hit the market
The Oakland Athletics acquired Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2012 season, which also means they acquired the 2013 option on his contract. It was a mutual option, for $10 million, with a $1.35 buyout should the Athletics decline their part of the deal. That's what they owe to him now, after declining his option for next year, but he's now a good bet for a brand new deal with another team, or maybe even the A's for a lower salary.
Drew, the younger brother of former Red Sox J.D., struggled last season, hitting .193/.290/.311 with the Diamondbacks and a better but-not-quite-there-yet .250/.326/.382 with the A's. Drew has seen his last two seasons cut short by injuries -- 2011 saw him undergo right ankle surgery for a fracture and ligament damage, and he then dealt with a sports hernia and recovery from the ankle procedure. Red Sox fans should know about the slow starts recovery from a sports hernia can create after seeing Kevin Youkilis struggle in Boston this past year, and that combined with severe ankle trauma are why Drew had such a tough go of things.
More than a year removed from that procedure, Drew is looking better, but it's unknown at this point if he'll ever get back to where he used to be, when the shortstop hit .272/.332/.448 from age 23 through 27. He's always been a much more productive hitter in Arizona than elsewhere, as well, with a career line of .260/.317/.414 on the road. His defense has been solid in the past, but age and that ankle injury could limit him going forward. That's a minor concern on the kind of short-term deal he's likely to receive for 2013, though: if he fails to hit enough outside of Arizona, or can't range like he needs to, then he can be let go after the one year.
Boston could use a shortstop, if they don't want to just set Jose Iglesias or Ivan De Jesus up with the gig. Drew is easily the most-attractive of the shortstop options out there on the market, since he's the only one with a ceiling that isn't touching the floor. Whether or not they will be in on him is another matter entirely, but now that he's officially a free agent, the option is there.