Stephen Drew isn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
The 31-year-old infielder has agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal to return to the New York Yankees.
Drew hit free agency a year ago coming off a solid season in Boston and a World Series win. He was expecting to find multiple long-term, big dollar deals. Unfortunately for Drew, that’s not exactly how things played out.
Drew had turned down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Sox and teams were not willing to give up a draft pick for a good, not great shortstop who was also going to cost big bucks. As such, Drew held out through Spring Training and beyond Opening Day waiting for a team to get desperate and give him a call.
He’d get that call eventually, from a very familiar source. The Red Sox struggled out of the gate last year and brought Drew back in late May. Things didn’t work out well for anyone involved. The Sox continued to stink and Drew looked like a player who had missed Spring Training.
The Red Sox dealt him to the Yankees at the trade deadline for utility fielder Kelly Johnson. In New York, Drew split his time between shortstop and second base; all the while continuing to do very little at the plate.
On the whole he “hit” a paltry .162/.237/.299 with seven home runs, 14 doubles, 26 RBI in 85 games played.
The move should solidify the Yankees infield with Drew expected to become the starter at second base, recently acquired Didi Gregorius at shortstop, recently re-signed Chase Headley at third, and Mark Teixeira at first. Alex Rodriguez is slated to return after his suspension as the club’s regular designated hitter, but it’s possible he could finagle some innings at either corner infield spot as necessary.
Drew has the potential for a bounce-back season with a regular off-season and Spring Training ahead, but adjusting to regularly playing second base could cause some growing pains as he looked very uncomfortable at the keystone corner in 34 games late last season.
Ultimately, it’s a safe move for both the player and the club. The Yankees can let their young infield prospects get some more seasoning in the minors and Drew can try to rebuild his value before hitting the market for one last shot at a big deal next off-season.