Now that Shin-Soo Choo has signed with the Texas Rangers, the big free agent bats are pretty much off of the market. Perhaps the most notable name that remains available, among the likes of Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales, is the 30-year-old shortstop Stephen Drew. With many teams wrapping up their major off-season acquisitions, one has to wonder: who will sign Stephen Drew?
Good shortstops are hard to find, so it is surprising that the market for Drew has been relatively quiet. Of course, this has a lot to do with his attached qualifying offer, which would cost a team a high draft selection. Here are five teams (in order of likelihood) that may make such a sacrifice to get a hold of the talented middle infielder:
Boston Red Sox
After just recently writing that I did not like the resigning of Mike Napoli due to financial constraints, I admit that the Red Sox seem like the most likely home for Stephen Drew in the near future. Bringing back Drew would allow Xander Bogaerts to develop at third base, not unlike Manny Machado in Baltimore. While Drew certainly struggled in the postseason, I’m going to guess and say that all is forgiven and he would be welcomed back with open arms. Furthermore, he wouldn’t really cost a draft pick to sign, though it takes away the opportunity to gain a pick. As I mentioned in the Napoli article, I can’t see Will Middlebrooks opening the 2014 season at the hot corner. Drew would be a pretty convenient and simple solution.
New York Mets
It would be generous to say that the Mets received anything positive from their shortstop arrangement this past season, and they have yet to address the position. Ruben Tejada is the favorite to open the season, though he had a negative WAR in 2013. He looks to be a bench piece, barring an unforeseen development in his offensive game. The farm system doesn’t contain anything close to a major league ready shortstop, leaving the Mets in a position of need. With their first round pick protected and the second round selection already invested into Curtis Granderson, it would cost a third round pick for New York to sign Drew. For a team with ample young pitchers ready to deliver, the Mets could become decent rather quickly. Drew would help that process without taking a job away from any viable internal candidates. While I think the Red Sox are more likely to retain Drew, the Mets are the most logical destination.
New York Yankees
How much do you trust Derek Jeter? With an aging wildcard like Jeter, and considering the amount of money the Yankees have spent this offseason, Drew would be gravy for the Bronx’s lineup. He could play every day as the Yankees rotate the left side of their infield of Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (a major wildcard in his own right), and have Drew take over in the post-Jeter era. After their multiple free agent signings already, they would not be surrendering a high pick. Drew would add to the Yankees’ depth, while filling a long term need. Additionally, the Yankees farm is unlikely to produce a major league shortstop anytime soon.
This one is just a personal hunch, with some solid reasoning. I didn’t expect the Marlins to spend at all, but then they signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia. They refuse to trade Giancarlo Stanton, and have rushed some of their top prospects. Predicting what the Marlins will do is like *insert predicting unlikely event here*, but it seems like they are trying to put some wins on the board. The Marlins first round pick is protected due to their futility last year, and they haven’t shied away from making a splash in the market before (remember when they apparently almost landed Albert Pujols!?). Anyway, Adeiny Hechavarria is a poor-man’s Ruben Tejada, while Rafael Furcal should be a depth piece. Considering they need more than one piece in their infield, Stephen Drew would fill a dire need in Miami. Like the two teams listed above, nobody in the farm system is exactly knocking the door down at the position. *Insert generic fish-related pun and/or Loria joke here*. Oh, and for whatever it’s worth, he played his college ball at Florida State.
The Twins’ farm has seemingly everything, from their prized duo of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano to an abundance of high-end pitchers like Alex Meyer and Kohl Stewart. What the system lacks, however, is a long-term answer at shortstop. Like the Marlins, a qualified free agent would not cost a first round pick for the Twins, and they have only a few big deals locked in. The Twins are lacking meat in their lineup beyond Joe Mauer, and Pedro Florimon seems to be the current best option. Pedro Florimon, guys.
A few teams missed my list, such as the Pirates, who are presumably going to roll with Jordy Mercer until Alen Hanson is ready. If they see Hanson as a second baseman going forward and are willing to spend, then the Pirates would definitely enter the conversation. Also considered were the Astros, Dodgers, and Reds. In the end, I really think this comes down to either the Red Sox or the Mets. Where you at this year, Mystery Team?
I’m sure I’ll look back at this in a month and regret mocking good ol’ Mystery Team.
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