Will the New York Yankees Target a Shortstop in Free Agency?
Given everything that has happened to the New York Yankees this season with injuries, especially to Derek Jeter, there has to be some real consideration moving forward to bringing in a free agent shortstop. The Yankees can’t go into next season like they did this season, hoping that Jeter will be able to come back healthy. Even if Jeter comes back healthy what good will he be throughout the course of the season?
The shortstop market is, to put it nicely, thin. Stephen Drew and Jhonny Peralta lead the crop but Peralta is coming back from a PED suspension and given what has happened with Alex Rodriguez this season the Yankees might be a little shy when it comes to adding players with that cloud over them.
That leaves Stephen Drew. Drew has had injury problems and hasn’t appeared in more than 150 games since 2010. He has appeared in just 117 games for the Boston Red Sox this season. The 30-year-old shortstop has hit .246/.331/.441 with 13 home runs, 64 RBI and 27 doubles. He isn’t a great option at shortstop but he isn’t the worst either. He currently sports a 2.8 WAR and is a career .263/.329/.434 hitter and did hit 21 homers in 2008, a career high.
The biggest hang up could be the Red Sox. If the Red Sox front office decides they want to give Drew a qualifying offer he will be in line to make around $14 million for next season, if he accepts. That forces clubs to either give Drew a multi-year deal and surrender a first round pick or hope Drew rejects the offer and then has trouble finding work on the free agent market which isn’t likely.
There is a chance the Red Sox won’t offer Drew a qualifying offer because they wouldn’t want to get stuck paying $14 million for a shortstop when it appears Will Middlebrooks and Xander Boegarts are ready to take over third base and shortstop respectively. Perhaps, though, the Red Sox will value the first round pick and the possibility of having an experienced hitter and glove man backing up the youngsters.
If Boston does not offer Drew the qualifying offer then he makes perfect sense for the Yankees. He would provide a veteran stopgap who wouldn’t have to play every day but would also keep Jeter from playing the field every day.
Unfortunately, the Yankees might be at the mercy of the Red Sox and nothing would be worse than signing Drew and having him get injured next year and knowing the Red Sox got a high draft pick in exchange. The Yankees will have to keep that in mind while knowing that Drew is the best option and is an upgrade over Eduardo Nunez and free agent-to-be Brendan Ryan. Then again, the way the Yankees have done business over the last year it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Nunez and Ryan being the options to spell Jeter.