According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox and free agent shortstop Stephen Drew have worked out a one-year deal for the 2013 season. WEEI's Rob Bradford confirms, while Heyman also reports that the deal is for $9.5 million. That's just $500,000 less than Drew's declined 2013 option, and the highest salary of Drew's career.Buster Olney tweets that there are $500,000 worth of performance bonuses in the deal, though, meaning Drew can still get the full $10 million he expected to before Oakland declined his option, in addition to the $1.35 million buyout the Athletics paid him in order to decline it.
Drew is the best shortstop on the market, but that doesn't mean a whole lot coming off of a season in which he played just 79 games while recovering from a severe ankle injury and surgery, and hit just .223/.309/.348 for the year. Signing with the Red Sox, in a park friendly to hitters, is something we've seen Scott Boras clients do in the past, and that's very likely what's going on with Drew here for next season: this will be his chance to make good and re-enter the market for 2014, hypothetically with higher stock than what he has now, when no one is offering the kind of multi-year agreement he hoped to find. Now, with the start of the season more than 20 months after Drew's ankle fracture and subsequent surgery, he's more likely to be capable of that than he was a year ago.
For his career, Drew has been a much worse hitter outside of Arizona than he has been inside of it, but compared to what Jose Iglesias is bringing to the plate right now, the Red Sox would likely be very happy with a campaign that resembled Drew's road numbers (.260/.317/.414). Fenway should help, of course, just like Chase Field did.
Drew's presence also means Iglesias can stay in Pawtucket and work on his hitting once again, while top prospect Xander Bogaerts can take his time at Double-A instead of being rushed through the system to fill what could have been a hole in the big-league lineup.