Stephen Drew caught off guard by end-of-deadline trade to visiting Yankees

August 01, 2014 - 3:59 pm
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It was 3:50 p.m. Thursday, just 10 minutes before Major League Baseball's trade deadline, and Stephen Drew's phone had been quiet all day. The shortstop was simply enjoying his off day. He brought his two kids to teammate Jon Lester's home while the pitcher was out attending a birthday party and was outside enjoying the summer weather while the kids were playing. At this point, the thought of being traded so late seemed improbable. "To be honest, I wasn't even monitoring it," he said. About five minutes later, Drew received a call. He had been traded to the Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson. Drew was soon on his way to Fenway Park to clean out his locker. Fortunately for Drew, the Yankees were coming to Boston Friday to begin a three-game series at Fenway. So his travels consisted of nothing more than moving his stuff from the Red Sox' clubhouse over to the visitor clubhouse on the other end of the park.

"It's definitely different, over there just playing a game and then an off day and then the moves," Drew said. "It comes with the business though. We all know that as players, we know that as our job.

"It is different walking across from the guys you were just playing with a day ago. Was over there with them, now I'm over here. I'm excited, it's going to be a new challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

Drew was a contributing member of the Sox' 2013 World Series championship team, but wasn't brought re-signed by the team until early May to add infield depth while rookie Xander Bogaerts was still acclimating to playing shortstop in the big leagues. 

The move ultimately failed. Drew was liability at the plate, hitting .176/.255/.328 in 40 games. Meanwhile, the Sox were slipping into the AL East cellar and Bogaerts appeared negatively affected by the move back to third.

But Drew joins the Yankees hoping for a fresh start. He has new teammates to meet, a new No. 33 Yankees jersey and a new position to play at second base.

Most importantly for Drew, he goes from a last-place team to a club just 3 1/2 games out of a wild card spot entering Friday.

"Over there was definitely not expected," Drew said. "It's something over there everybody wishes that you could've turned around and started over in spring training, but that's the way this game is. It's definitely something that -- it's been kind of crazy that two months that I had when I was there.

"I'm just trying to move past that now and looking forward to being here with the Yankees and help this organization the best I can. We're still in a race so it's fun for me."

As for his new position, Drew said it'll be worth moving from shortstop to second in order to play alongside Derek Jeter, who he said he idolized growing up.

"I'm just going to take this opportunity and run with it and looking forward to playing beside a future Hall of Famer with Jeter," Drew said.

He said of playing second base: "I think it's just getting acclimated to it, just playing there every day and learning that position as much as I can as fast as I can."

The trade reunites Drew with former teammate Jacoby Ellsbury, whom Drew playing with on the Red Sox last season. Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the Yankees in the offseason, texted Drew after he heard the news to offer any advice he can give.

"He was a teammate last year," Ellsbury said of Drew. "Obviously we won it all so you're close with those guys. He's a very good player and a good friend of mine."

Drew spoke fondly of his time with the Red Sox before leaving the clubhouse to embark on his first batting practice with the Yankees.

"My time with Boston, there's nothing negative about it," he said. "This is just the nature of how baseball works and the memories I have over there, last year winning a World Series and being a big part of that, it's huge and I'm thankful for the opportunity I got over there last year and coming in and playing short for them and doing well.

"Playing over there with [Dustin Pedroia], he'll be a Hall of Fame second baseman over there as well so to play with two Hall of Famers is pretty neat for me."

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