With Derek Jeter's announcement today that he would retire from baseball at the end of the 2014 season, the New York Yankees are left with a glaring hole at shortstop. The Yankee infield, which has been loaded with question marks the past two seasons, now gets the biggest one of them of all. Who will replace the Captain?
With free agent shortstop Stephen Drew still on the market, he could be the answer for the Yankees. At 31, Drew is in the prime of a solid career. The Yankees don't face too much competition for the former Red Sox and could step in and sign him. Drew has most recently been linked to the New York Mets. Yesterday Met GM, Sandy Alderson, told Mike Francesca of WFAN radio that they would sign him "under the right circumstances". It doesn't sound as if the Mets are making a move any time soon. Drew could play second base this season and slide over next year and fill the void at short.
Drew is seeking a multi- year deal and is looking for a 1 year opt-out. Reportedly, Drew turned down a two year offer from the Red Sox last week. The reasoning behind that is that the Red Sox would welcome Drew back, but only as a utility infielder. Boston is comfortable with a young infield that includes Xander Bogerts at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks at third base. Drew and his agent Scott Boras may want the one year clause and a guaranteed starting shortstop position, but it's getting late. If Drew wants to play this season, he needs to ink a deal shortly. With pitchers and catchers reporting to camp on Saturday he needs to make a move soon.
That's where the Yankees can step in. The Yankees aren't looking to replace Derek Jeter. That will never be done. But signing Drew to a three year deal would give them plenty of time to work on a long term solution. Be it signing a franchise type free agent or acquiring one through the draft or via the trade route. Signing Drew right now makes plenty of sense for the Yankees. It has been rumored that he does not want to play second or third, but that would only be for this season. At this point Drew needs to decide if he wants to play this year, because his options are fading fast.
Drew started the off-season as a highly sought after target. With teams finding alternative solutions, like Johnny Peralta signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, time is quickly running out for Drew. Of course, Boras isn't helping much either. This is the same guy who advised his brother, JD to sit out his rookie season rather than sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies drafted the elder Drew with the second overall pick in the 1997 draft and never signed him. So Stephen Drew could be headed in the that same direction if he doesn't change his demands and reach an agreement in the next few days.
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