According to Peter Gammons, Scott Boras, who represents free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, has “dropped several hints” this week that Drew is willing to play positions aside from shortstop (the only position he’s ever played in the majors). Writes Gammons:
Last winter, the Yankees wanted to sign Stephen Drew, but were told he would only play shortstop. So he ended up with Boston. But this week Scott Boras dropped several hints that Drew would be willing to play other positions, which might make him more attractive to both the Red Sox and Yankees; Boston might be able to use him at short, third and even first base, and the Yankees could play him at second and third and have him as insurance if Derek Jeter has any physical problems. In fact, Drew’s value may be greater if he will play several positions.
What the Red Sox have yet to decide is whether Drew would be comfortable as a utilityman, considering how hard he worked to come back from a serious ankle injury and the diligence with which he prepared the entire 2013 season. Early on in their negotiations, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington let Drew and Boras know that the plans are for Xander Bogaerts to be the Boston shortstop, which might limit Drew to games at first, third and short against righthanded pitching.
Gammons is limiting his opining re: Drew and a potential position switch to how it might impact the Yankees and Red Sox, but doesn’t discuss what kind of impact it may have on other teams. It should be noted that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already stated that the club won’t be signing Drew (though things obviously change).
While willing to play positions besides shortstop may enlarge Drew’s market, I disagree with Gammons’ assertion that it may make him more valuable.
Drew’s value lies in the fact that he plays a solid defensive shortstop and offers pop at the plate. Moving him to second base would mean that value is translated. However, neither the Yankees (Brian Roberts) or Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia) have an opening at second base.
If you move Drew to a corner infield position, his value would be depressed. And that’s assuming that Drew will be able to adequately handle first base or third base.
It behooves Boras to try to create a bigger market for Drew by hinting he’s willing to play positions besides shortstop, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Drew signed somewhere with the thought being that he would play multiple infield positions.
However, he’s a known commodity at shortstop. Putting him anywhere else would be a gamble, and putting him anywhere besides second base doesn’t make much sense value wise.
It’s being reported that the Mets remain interested in Drew. Those reports indicate that they, along with the Red Sox, are hesitant to give Drew more than a one year deal. That’s probably due to the lack of interest Drew is getting from others, not because the Mets refuse to go to two years for Drew.