Stephen Drew's market still mystery at winter meetings

Rob Bradford
December 11, 2013 - 3:29 am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Maybe Wednesday will be the day. Ben Cherington is planning on meeting with Scott Boras, who also is slated to conduct his annual winter meetings media gathering somewhere in the Dolphin Resort and Hotel. Perhaps at the end of the pair of get-togethers we will have a better idea as to where Stephen Drew's market is coming from. Right now, however, it remains a mystery. It's difficult to find any executives from any organizations within the hallways of these winter meetings who can offer insight as to which team -- other than the Red Sox -- might be willing to jump in and make a substantial offer to Drew. The Red Sox, of course, remain in the catbird seat in regards to the Drew market, not having to surrender a draft pick if they were to sign the shortstop. It is why one executive from a team thought to have interest in Drew said he firmly believes the 31-year-old will end up back with the Sox. Because any team other than the Red Sox will have to give up a pick for Drew, it makes the scenario for the shortstop to lock in on significant contract hard to fathom. The consensus is that in order for any team to be able to justify giving up a draft pick, the deal for the player would have to be for three years, and allocating a three-year deal along with the ultra-valuable draft pick for Drew (as solid a player as he is) is still a reach. The Mets, for instance, don't appear to be willing to take that leap of faith with Drew, especially now that they've already surrendered their second draft pick in the signing of Curtis Granderson (New York's first-round pick is protected). The Red Sox clearly like Drew, and seemingly would welcome him back. But a return would necessitate some payroll prioritizing. For instance, if they were able to acquire Rajai Davis (a player the Sox had interest in), that financial commitment have put more of a punctuation on bringing their starting shortstop back (barring a trade of one of their pitchers). Now, while most everybody in at the meetings can't offer a scenario where Drew lands anywhere but with the Red Sox, they are also usually quick to point out Boras' propensity to find a market in such seemingly dire situations. It might just end up being a case of how long he and Drew are willing to wait. When the agent got caught in qualifying offer hell last offseason with Kyle Lohse -- a 34-year-old pitcher with a draft pick attached to him -- it took until March 25 to get a three-year, $33 million deal done. The difference is, however, that the need for Drew's position is much more limited than that of a starting pitcher, with no guarantee that a team will suddenly need a shortstop enough to give up a draft pick. This could very well end up like the kind of scenario experienced by former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek (a Boras guy), who turned down an arbitration offer of what would have ended up to be around $11 million only to end up with a one-year, $5 million deal. But, then again ... Maybe Wednesday will be the day we uncover Drew's market.