Stephen Drew free agency: Drew won't return to Red Sox

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

Boston already has a shortstop in place for 2014, limiting what they will offer Drew as a free agent.

While there is certainly room for Stephen Drew to rejoin the Red Sox for 2014, it wouldn't be on the kind of contract that Drew could get elsewhere. According to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes, Drew won't be returning to the Red Sox, because he will have a slew of multi-year offers from other clubs that will go "beyond anything Boston would do."

The shortstop played wonderful defense for the 2013 champions, and also batted .253/.333/.443 in 124 games. While he was initially slowed by a concussion suffered in spring training, Drew's final line was valued at a 127 sOPS+, meaning he was 27 percent more productive at the plate than your average shortstop. With Xander Bogaerts ready to take over at short, Will Middlebrooks already around for third base, and Garin Cecchini months away from his Triple-A debut, inking Drew to a long-term deal didn't make much sense, even considering how productive he can be.

The Red Sox submitted the qualifying offer to Drew, so once he does sign somewhere else, they will receive a compensation draft pick for the first round of the 2014 draft, as well as the additional draft budget that comes with it. Free agents Mike Napoli and Jacoby Ellsbury were also given the qualifying offer, so the Red Sox have an opportunity to amass a significant budget and pool of early picks in what is considered to be a deep draft.

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