The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal with infielder Stephen Drew, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Sox will pay Drew the pro-rated portion of the $14.1M qualifying offer that he turned down from the Red Sox, meaning he will get about $10.2M for the rest of the season.
Because Drew signed mid-season, he will not be eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the Red Sox at the beginning of the offseason, when he is a free agent again. That means that he will be able to test the market without draft pick compensation attached, likely making his next go-around at free agency much easier than this one.
The move is a fascinating one for the Red Sox, who began the season committed to a young left side of the infield that included Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third base. While Bogaerts has been very good all season, Middlebrooks has faltered, causing the Sox to look to make a move to increase production at third base. As our Wick Terrell pointed out on Sunday, Middlebrooks recently suffered a broken finger and will miss some time, opening the door for a reunion between the Red Sox and Drew. One industry source who is close to the situation commented that "Drew is a shortstop" and that "he wouldn't expect that to change", meaning that the more likely course of action would be to move Bogaerts to third base with Drew taking over at shortstop.
Drew, who hit .253 with 13 HR and 67 RBI in 124 games for the World Champions last season, was the subject of one of the most interesting free agency sagas in recent history. After turning down Boston's $14.1M qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason, he was unable to get a satisfactory deal that met his asking price despite rumored interest from the Mets, Yankees and Tigers. He entered the season without a team, and has been training in Florida along with Kendrys Morales, who also remains unsigned after refusing a qualifying offer.
Drew will be added to the Red Sox' active roster after he takes his physical on Wednesday, but will head to the minors for 7-10 days in order to get game-ready, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. As the first player to miss a significant chunk of the season following free agency due to the qualifying offer system, it will be interesting to see how much time it takes Drew to get back to the player he was last season.