The never-ending saga of Stephen Drew's free-agency ended on Tuesday with him signing a one-year, $10 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, who he played for last season. There were several teams that could have used the services of Drew -- like the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers -- and others that didn't really need him, but were attached to him anyway -- cough, cough, the Yankees.
But in the end, he went back to the team he rejected a one-year, $14 million qualifying offer from in the winter.
Even though the Red Sox are the team that he'll be suiting up for this season, Drew's signing with Boston still effects the Yankees. How? I'll give you a few reasons why.
- Because he rejected the qualifying offer, Drew had draft pick compensation following him around for all of the winter and up until the Red Sox signed him yesterday. For that reason, a lot of teams were hesitant to go after him, knowing they would have to give up a draft pick for this June's draft in order to get a deal done. The Yankees, after giving up picks to sign Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, won't pick until the late second round this year (No. 56, to be exact) and giving up that pick to the Red Sox would have set them even farther down in the draft. So, without signing Drew, they keep the pick.
- As I mentioned, the Yankees already have Jeter as their shortstop, and even though he hasn't been very productive this season, he's still Derek Jeter and the Yankees aren't going to bench him during his final season. Yangervis Solarte is making a name for himself at third base, hitting over .300 entering Wednesday -- you can't bench him there. Brian Roberts was awful in April, but is hitting .288 in May and has been pretty solid defensively, too. If the Yankees need to upgrade anywhere right now, it would be the starting rotation.
- But here's the thing: Jeter won't be there next season, meaning the Yankees will need to find his replacement this winter. Drew will be a free-agent again this winter, and because he signed two months into the season, the Red Sox won't be able to slap another qualifying offer on him, meaning teams won't need to give up a draft pick to get him. I'm sure other teams like the Mets, if they don't get someone else and stop worrying about money, will be interested, but with the spot open for Drew to play shortstop, it becomes an even more obvious fit.