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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Day 106 of the Stephen Drew Watch

By Gordon Edes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from a foggy Fort on Day 106 of the Stephen Drew Watch.

That’s how many days have passed since Drew rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox and has yet to be signed by another team. For now, he is training at a facility set up by his agent, Scott Boras, in North Miami Beach, waiting for a multi-year offer that he deems acceptable.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, appear fully committed to proceeding with rookie Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third, the window for bringing back Drew not yet entirely closed but moving in that direction. Now there is speculation that Drew could wait until after the June draft to sign, because then he would not cost a team a compensatory draft pick. Seems like a longshot that it would break that way; Boras is banking on a club needing another infielder sometime this spring.

Here are the salaries for big-league shortstops in 2014 (all figures are from Cots Contracts; rough estimates are mine):

Seven shortstops will be paid $10 million or more in 2014; 15 will be paid $5 million or more.

Jhonny Peralta was the biggest free-agent signing at shortstop this winter, drawing a four-year, $53 million deal from the St. Louis Cardinals. Peralta turns 32 in May; he is a year older than Drew, who turns 31 next month. Their career slash lines are very similar:

Peralta .268/.330/.425/.755
Drew .264/.329/.435/.764

Peralta has 156 home runs in 1,383 career games; Drew has 90 home runs in 936 games. Drew had a significant ankle injury that cost him the better part of two seasons; Peralta was suspended 50 games last season after being named in the Biogenesis investigation. Drew is generally considered the better fielder.

But to date, no team has yet stepped up for Drew with a similar offer, with scant indications that anyone will at this stage. Perhaps complicating the picture is this: The cover story of the Feb. 28 issue of Baseball America asks the question, “Is the Next Golden Era of Shortstops Beginning,” noting that 5 of their top 15 prospects are shortstops; Bogaerts of the Red Sox, Javier Baez of the Cubs, Carlos Correa of the Astros, Francisco Lindor of the Indians, and Addison Russell of the Athletics.