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Saturday, February 15, 2014
The road map for Drew remains uncharted

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's a 5 hour and 12 minute drive from Hahira, Ga., to Jet Blue Park in normal traffic, or so it says on Google Maps. About 370 miles or so.

Once you turn off Georgia Highway 122, it's a straight shot down I-75, through Valdosta, across the state line east of Tallahassee, through Gainesville and Ocala, bypassing Tampa-St. Pete, and then on through Bradenton and Sarasota until you arrive here.

Not a bad drive, as long as the slowpoke snowbirds give you leeway to pass.

There are some Red Sox players, like Jake Peavy said Saturday morning in the clubhouse here, who still expect to see Stephen Drew make that drive and show up at their doorstep. But while last year's World Series shortstop remains in play -- no sense in ruling him out altogether until he signs someplace -- the fact remains, according to a source close to negotiations, the Sox do not have a contract offer to Drew, not since he turned down last fall's $14.1 million qualifying offer.

He could still come 'round, especially if a satisfactory offer doesn't materialize elsewhere, but as of now, the Sox aren't expecting anything to happen.

For manager John Farrell, it's about managing the expectations of the players who are here, not about the guys who aren't. And for the sake of their peace of mind, he said, he would prefer a resolution on Drew come sooner than later.

"I think one thing we don't want," Farrell said Saturday, "is a lingering, what if. If Stephen is still out there, in all fairness to our guys, in our clubhouse the guys who will be affected if he were to be brought in -- I can't speak for [GM] Ben [Cherington] in this situation, but the more we know what our team is going to look like, it probably will settle some of that wondering if another player is going to join us."

Drew would be an asset to this club, no doubt. He would give them depth on the left side, where rookie Xander Bogaerts is poised to take over at short and Will Middlebrooks at third looks to rekindle some of the thunder he showed as a rookie in 2012. The Sox have backups in Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera, but they're both utility types, not fully equipped to play every day if the need arises. Third baseman Garin Cecchini and shortstop Deven Marrero are coming, but most likely need more seasoning.

But at this stage, Drew is looking for a place he can expect to call home for at least a couple of years, and right now that's not Boston. Farrell said his message to Bogaerts has been clear.

"I can tell you," Farrell said, "the conversations with Xander to date have been to focus on shortstop. If that needs to be adjusted, we'll address it at that time. We're moving forward with the players we have here. That's the short answer I can give you."