The Red Sox will "wait out" shortstop Stephen Drew's market according to Alex Speier of WEEI, leaving a potential return to Boston dependent on what would be surprisingly low demand for the free agent shortstop.
With the team now lacking any major holes, general manager Ben Cherington has said the Red Sox have shifted into a more "opportunistic" approach to the offseason. If a good fit can be found, or if there's a bargain available, the Red Sox could still make a significant move. This is where Drew would come in.
As it stands, the Red Sox have Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks set to start on the left side of he infield. By all accounts, the team will be willing to take that pair to Opening Day, along with a reasonable backup of some sort. That being said, Will Middlebrooks is a huge question mark after 2013. Xander Bogaerts is a rookie. Stephen Drew is a veteran of eight seasons who, when healthy, has been quite productive indeed. Last year he was good for 3.4 WAR in 124 games.
The Red Sox will not lock themselves up with Drew on the left side of the infield on a long-term deal if he comes in at a high price. But if the market should prove soft, which is not outside the realm of possibility given the way teams have approached players with qualifying offers of late, that could provide an opening for one of those "opportunistic" moves. Drew could even seek another one-year deal despite a strong performance in 2013, should agent Scott Boras expect next year's offseason to provide a stronger market. In the unlikely event that a player of Drew's caliber is available on such a low-risk deal, the Red Sox would almost certainly jump at it, even if it meant going over the Collective Bargaining Tax threshold for a season.