Stephen Drew rumors: Scott Boras wants opt-out after first year

Rob Carr

Well no wonder no one wants to sign Stephen Drew.

The Red Sox extended Stephen Drew the qualifying offer back in November, and he still has not signed with another team yet, at least in part due to the draft pick compensation that offer necessitates. The Mets apparently don't mind giving up a pick for him, but Drew's agent, Scott Boras, has thrown in an additional wrinkle that has given them pause: Boras wants Drew to have a player opt-out after the first year of a deal, which would allow Drew to reenter free agency, according to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin.

That's kind of an odd demand to make of the Mets. They shouldn't be a bad team in 2014, but 2015 is the year where things should really come together for them, since ace Matt Harvey will have returned from Tommy John surgery, and all of their young players will be a year older with another season of experience. Giving up a third-round pick as compensation for Drew to have him for the lesser of the two years you would want him around just seems odd. And it's also a little weird for Boras, since Drew would reenter free agency should he have another strong season, and likely have a qualifying offer attached to him once more.

In addition, the shortstop market a year from now is a strong one, with Asdrubal Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Jed Lowrie, and J.J. Hardy all becoming free agents. There would be more jobs available, sure, but it's not like Drew stands out among that pack, either: he could very well end up in another off-season waiting game just the same.

The only way this makes sense as a demand is if Boras has no intention of actually getting the opt-out, but simply wants to use the demand for it as leverage to acquire a third year or a few million more for his client. After all, we're talking about Scott Boras: the man knows what he's doing in negotiations, and more often than not gets what he and his clients want. Drew might lack leverage thanks to the qualifying offer, so Boras is simply trying to invent some at this late hour.

Now, if he came to the Red Sox with that offer, things might be a little different, since the Sox wouldn't have to give up a pick and could enjoy a season of Stephen Drew knowing he would vanish in a year. Boras is unlikely to do that, though, since coming to the Red Sox could mean Drew doesn't play enough to put together the kind of season that will get him noticed among next winter's free agent shortstop crop.

All Boston can hope for at this point is that either Boras or the Mets blink, and Drew signs, giving the Sox a third first-round pick in the 2014 draft, as well as the additional draft budget that comes with it.

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