Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stephen Drew is Still a Free Agent, and No One Should Feel Bad For HIm

Stephen Drew, who last fall rejected the Red Sox qualifying offer — a one-year contract of $14.1 million — remains jobless even as spring training rolls on. Drew is still said to be looking for $14 million per season, the same amount that he previously declined.

But here's the reality, Mr. Drew: When you roll the dice, sometimes you lose.

Being attached to draft pick compensation has undoubtedly had an impact on Drew's market.

But Drew's offensive performance the last three seasons has likely played a role as well.

Here's Drew's slash line for each of the last three seasons:

2011: .252/.317/.396
2012: .250/.326/.382
2013: .253/.333/.443

Weak hitting. Weak on-base. Weak slugging. In my world, that's not a $14 million-per-year player.

Yet, Drew doesn't think the above statistics have anything to do with the lack of interest in him this offseason. Nor does he seem to recognize that perhaps he's simply asking for too much money given his three-year track record.

It's been reported that the Red Sox have offered Drew a two-year contract for an undisclosed sum, and the Mets have reportedly discussed a salary of around $9.5 million for Drew, which is what he earned last year with the Sox.

But that's just not enough for Drew, who seems to place a higher value on himself than anyone else. In Drew's estimation, he's not the problem. The problem, in his view, is the draft pick compensation system.

Here's what Drew told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman on Friday:

“You hate to say it, but it really messes up free agency for guys who worked hard. A lot of people don’t want to give up that first-round pick, and that’s what it boils down to. It’s unusual. I understand draft picks, but at the same time, you have a guy who’s proven as very good on defense and a top five shortstop if you look at it.”

“Our union has been really good. But I think we really have to look at this. Is this really good for free agency? Our players need to sit back and look at it and see what we need to do about it.”

Boo hoo. Life is tough. Again, Drew was offered a guaranteed salary of $14.1 million by the Red Sox for this season, and he turned it down because it wasn't enough. He thought he could get more on the open market. Other players did the same (such as Jacoby Ellsbury, for example), and some of them got paid.

But not everyone. Nelson Cruz turned down the $14.1 million qualifying offer made by the Rangers and last week ended up settling for $8 million from Baltimore. He rolled the dice and he lost. That's the name of the game when you gamble. Bets don't always go your way.

That's the bitter reality Stephen Drew hasn't come to grips with yet. But eventually he may have to. He has no leverage at this point, and the baseball clock is ticking.

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