December 19, 2012

Red Sox sign another Drew

The Sox agreed to one-year, $9.5 million contract with shortstop Stephen Drew, the younger brother of longtime Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox moved forward with their strategy of giving free agents short-term contracts by reaching a $9.5 million, one-year agreement with shortstop Stephen Drew.

click image to enlarge

An Aug. 23, 2012, photo of then-Oakland Athletics' Stephen Drew batting in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Molina during a game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

AP

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Drew will take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not complete.

Boston also finalized a $4.25 million, one-year contract with 37-year-old reliever Koji Uehara, a deal agreed to two weeks ago atr the winter meetings.

Drew hit .250 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 39 games for the Oakland Athletics last season after being traded by Arizona on Aug. 20. In 40 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit .193 with two homers and 12 RBIs. Drew, 29, is the brother of former Boston outfielder J.D. Drew and had been with Arizona for his entire big career until the trade.

In seven seasons, Drew is hitting .265 with 77 homers and 349 RBIs. In addition to his salary, he would earn a $500,000 bonus if he has 500 plate appearances.

With several top prospects needing more seasoning, the Red Sox are adding players who can help until, and perhaps after, those youngsters are ready.

So far this offseason, they've agreed to $39 million, three-year contracts with outfielder Shane Victorino and first baseman-catcher Mike Napoli; a $26.5 million, two-year deal with right-hander Ryan Dempster; a $10 million, two-year contract with outfielder Johnny Gomes and a $6.2 million, two-year deal with catcher David Ross.

Napoli's deal hasn't been finalized yet while the Red Sox address their concerns about his health.

Their lineup will have a much different look after a 69-93 record that led to the firing of Bobby Valentine after one year as manager.

Drew would become Boston's 11th starting shortstop in nine seasons. Mike Aviles started 123 games there last season then was sent to Toronto as compensation for the Red Sox prying their new manager, John Farrell, away from the Blue Jays. Aviles later was traded to the Cleveland Indians.

Slick-fielding Jose Iglesias, 22, has been considered Boston's shortstop of the future but is a weak hitter, batting .118 in 24 games last year. He may have been overtaken in the Red Sox long-term plans by Xander Bogaerts, 20, who has played just 23 games at Double-A.

Other top prospects are outfielders Jackie Bradley and Bryce Brentz, right-handers Matt Barnes and Allen Webster and left-hander Henry Owens.

Uehara, had a 1.75 ERA last season for Texas, allowing seven earned runs in 36 innings with no record, 43 strikeouts and three walks. The right-hander pitched for 10 years in Japan before signing with the Baltimore Orioles in 2009.

He would earn a $125,000 bonus if he has 15 games finished and that same amount for each additional five games finished through 50.

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