As a tacit acknowledgement that their two shortstop prospects, Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts are not yet major league ready, as first reported by John Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Boston Red Sox have signed Stephen Drew to a one year $9.5 million deal to be their SS next season.
As GM Ben Cherington plays the part of chemist/alchemist, Drew represents another bridge to the future type of investment Boston has been making all offseason as they collect role and good-attitude players in the hope of changing the toxic environment that had existed the past couple of seasons.
Drew doesn’t turn 30 until March and was on his way to becoming a premier shortstop before a severe ankle injury, resulting in a break and torn ligaments, that forced him to lose the end of the 2011 season and the first half of the 2012 season. Coming back in June of last season, Drew went from the Diamondbacks to the Oakland A’s in August and played an integral role in their drive to the postseason. From the Sox perspective, Drew’s improvement throughout the season was the key to making this stop-gap deal.
On the other hand, and this is a story that may sound familiar to Red Sox Nation, like older brother J.D. Drew, Stephen’s desire to return from his injury was questioned by Diamondbacks management and met the ire of the fans. In June, Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick said in an interview:
“I’m going to be real direct about Stephen (Drew),” Kendrick said, “I believe Stephen should have been out there playing before now. Frankly, I for one am disappointed. I’m going to be real candid and say I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen’s going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.”
A few days after that, Drew played his first rehab game in 11 months and said, it was “just a little disappointing” to have Kendrick “questioning my integrity.”
“The guys that have been around me, including Ken, I thought for seven years, on the field and off the field, (knew) what kind of guy I am,” Drew said. “I give it all I have.”
He said he barely had an off day throughout the offseason, working with people who knew about his type of ankle injury “to try to be back as soon as possible, not only for my teammates but for myself.”
“I missed playing the game,” Drew said. “You get something taken away and you can’t do it for a while, you really realize how much you do love the game. But it’s behind me and hopefully behind Ken and the whole organization. I’m looking forward to getting back up there and helping the team win some games.”