Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mike Napoli have until 5 p.m. Monday to decide whether to accept the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers they were given by the Red Sox. But the answer in all three cases is quite clear:
Ellsbury, obviously, is one of the top free agents on the market and almost certainly will land a contract worth in excess of $100 million. Napoli also can count on multiyear offers.
There was the thought that Drew would have to at least consider the offer, given that it represented a $4.6 million raise. But agent Scott Boras made it clear to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com that Drew is aiming higher in a thin market for shortstops.
The Red Sox would receive supplemental first-round draft picks if any of the players tendered qualifying offers signs with another team. Declining the qualifying offer would not prohibit the players from signing with the Red Sox.
Meanwhile, there is mutual interest between free agent righthander Tim Hudson and the Red Sox, according to major league sources.
Hudson has been with the Braves for nine seasons and seems unlikely to leave. The Red Sox also have, at the moment, six starting pitchers. Interest in Hudson could be part of a larger plan that would involve trading some of their starter depth.
In Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Jake Peavy, the Red Sox have three veteran pitchers who could be of interest to contending teams.
Red Sox catcher David Ross, who once played for the Braves, is close with Hudson and free agent catcher Brian McCann. Players almost invariably select teams based on contracts, but the new-and-improved clubhouse atmosphere in Boston and the style of manager John Farrell will help attract free agents.