Bradford: The 'other' J.D. explains what Scott Boras is doing during this delay

Rob Bradford
February 25, 2018 - 9:22 am

USA Today Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- He's the original J.D.

He was forced to lean on Scott Boras during the kind of awkward waiting game in which J.D. Martinez currently finds himself. Initials aside, few have a better perspective on this standoff between the Red Sox and their current free agent target than J.D. Drew.

While we're coming up on almost a week from when Martinez and the Red Sox agreed to a five-year deal, still without any official announcement, it's nowhere near the wait Drew endured prior to the 2007 season. That wasn't seven days. It was seven weeks.

The Red Sox didn't like the look of Drew's right shoulder after agreeing to a five-year, $70 million contract. And, as is the current case with their view of Martinez's physical well-being, the organization was intent on protecting itself.

"I didn't really know what was going on because they announced me and Julio [Lugo] at the same time then I found out, later on, there were some questions regarding my shoulder. I knew a lot of that was far-fetched, considering the year I had before," Drew told WEEI.com.

"My first words were, 'There's nothing wrong with my shoulder.' I was like you can put whatever you want in there. But (Boras) said, 'I have to protect you.' From that point on I gave him complete freedom to do whatever he needed to do."

Drew agreed to his new contract with the Red Sox in early December 2006, coming off an excellent season with the Dodgers that included an .891 OPS in 146 games after undergoing offseason surgery on the aforementioned shoulder. After some early discomfort, Drew had put the ailment in his rearview mirror, managing a 1.145 OPS in the season's final month.

So, when Boras came to Drew to explain the Red Sox wanted to put some language in the deal protecting the team against the shoulder giving out ("I'm telling you, that fine print can get crazy," Drew said), the player immediately put all his faith in the agent.

"Of course, Scott was going to manage what I paid him to manage him to do, which was to manage the contracts to get the best outcome in the situation," Drew said. "We just wanted to make sure there wasn't fine print in there to pull the contract out from under me if something happened down the road. The fine print was very, very important to Scott, which I understood. That's why it took as long as it did. The protection for me was to make sure they had to have something positive 100 percent that this injury, if I was were to slide and tear my shoulder up, would this be an acute injury that happened in Boston and not before I got there. You can imagine the technicalities that go behind this stuff. And of course, as it draws on a little bit there is going to be some uncertainty."

That's where faith in Boras comes in, which is undoubtedly what Martinez is currently relying on.

As was the case 11 years ago, it all comes down to making sure if an injury takes place, it won't be because of a pre-existing problem. John Lackey memorably played the fnal year of his contract for the minimum because of a clause related to his right elbow ligament, which required surgery. The Red Sox get it. Boras gets it. Now it's just about finding the common ground Drew waited almost two months to uncover.

"Scott is very good, very confident," Drew said. "Just protecting the player for the life of the contract and also try and speak words of confidence, saying this was going to get done. I was never concerned it wasn't going to happen.

"I don't know what the holdup is in the contract, but I just know Scott knows what to do and he's seasoned in this. In Scott's eyes, he's getting the best for his guy. J.D. has proven himself. Same thing with me. When doctors started raising red flags I had just had a great year. I guarantee Scott and J.D. are on a page where they know what's happening, he's completely assured by Scott that they know what they have to do. He's going to fight, he's going to fight, he's going to fight and get the best he can and make sure it's fine with him."

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