The Red Sox tried to sign Stephen Drew at the beginning of the offseason and continued to have conversations with the shortstop through start of the young season, but nothing ever seemed to materialize from the dialogue.
At least nothing materialized until the Red Sox absolutely needed him.
On Wednesday, Red Sox general manager and executive vice president Ben Cherington officially announced the team had signed Drew to a one-year deal.
“It’s just a matter of timing and sometimes motivations have to align and we were fortunate that they did with Stephen,” Cherington said in a conference call with media members.
The Sox found their own motivation to sign Stephen Drew, the team’s defensive star at short last season, after third baseman Will Middlebrooks fractured his right index finger. Despite continued talks with Drew from the offseason, things did not heat up with the veteran until this weekend. Coupled with a view that current shortstop Xander Bogaerts can play third base, the team feels comfortable bringing Drew back is the best option for the team, despite whatever shock it may be for Bogaerts, who recorded two errors in Tuesday night’s 7-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
“This move with Stephen is not in any way a lack of belief in Xander to play short,” Cherington said. “We’re just trying to make the team better.”
Cherington also said the team is committed to Middlebrooks, who he views as one of the best third basemen in the major leagues.
“We gotta get him healthy first,” he said. “We’re talking weeks, not days.”
Drew will be active but not in the lineup for the Sox’ game tonight against the Blue Jays. Cherington said the team has to go through some administrative steps to get him ready for the season, which will likely include a stint in the minor leagues.
Other notes from Cherington’s call:
– Felix Doubront wil be placed on the 15-day disabled list. Cherington described Doubront’s injury in terms of the pitcher’s shoulder strength. “He’s not talking about pain, he’s talking about weakness and ability to generate power.” Drew will take Doubront’s place on the 25-man roster.
– Cherington considers both Middlebrooks and Bogaerts to be mentally strong, particularly in dealing with this situation. “They’re young, talented players, who are going to be major league players. This is not the first time a young, talented major league player has gone through a transition and dealt with a little adversity.”