Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Boston has a shortstop, kind of, so they're looking to upgrade if they can
Jose Iglesias, at this point, is the most-likely candidate to man shortstop for the 2013 Red Sox. While his defense is major-league ready, his bat is not, so if Boston is able to land a different shortstop through free agency, then they might do that. There is little out there to acquire, though, hence Stephen Drew's popularity. According to Rob Bradford, Boston is still in on Drew.
It's not as simple as just signing him up. Susan Slusser reports that Drew's agent, Scott Boras, requested a five-year deal from the Detroit Tigers. While they already have a shortstop in Jhonny Peralta, it is no secret they are open to moving him. Five years is a long time for Drew, though, considering many believe he should be looking for a one-year deal in order to rebuild his value, considering his injury-shortened past and a tough 2012.
Jason Beck, a Tigers' beat writer of MLB.com, says Drew is thought to be looking for at least a two-year deal. Given that, the only way the Red Sox are going to be able to get him outside of handing him two years is to give him the ole Adrian Beltre make-good contract. Give Drew a higher average annual value than everyone else, maybe throw in a mutual option for 2014, and everyone is happy. Boston certainly has the payroll room to do it, as they're still about $40 million below the luxury tax threshold, but whether they will is another question entirely.
Drew's defense was never considered that great, and it's likely it's worse following major ankle surgery. His bat has never played very well outside of Arizona, either, as he's hit .260/.317/.414 on the road, compared to ,271/.340/.454 at home. He can be buried in Boston's lineup, however, and if his defense is even average, he should be more productive than Iglesias in 2013. Iglesias certainly has Drew beat defensively, but could be anything from tolerable to detrimental at the plate.
The left-handed Drew won't see a boost from Fenway Park with homers, but going up the middle and the other way, he could see a boost in his production. Drew has never been much of an opposite-field slugger, but having the wall out in left should help him with that. Assuming Boston can get him on reasonable terms, anyway -- at this time, with five years being thrown around, it might be awhile before that can happen.