With spring training underway and exhibition games being played all over baseball, free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew is still unemployed. An established player who’s coming off a productive season and plays a key position shouldn’t enter the month of March without a job. But that has been the case with Drew, and the person to blame for that is his agent Scott Boras.
Boras is one of the best agents in baseball who’s earned many players a lot of money over the years, but he botched Drew’s free agency to the point that it would be acceptable for Drew to fire him. Drew was one of top free agent shortstops this offseason along with Jhonny Peralta, and while Peralta ended up with a four-year contract worth $53 million, Drew remains unsigned with offers that are nowhere near the contract that Peralta received.
The first mistake that Boras made was advising Drew to decline a qualifying offer from the Boston Red Sox that would have kept him in Boston for another year for $14.1 million. After declining that, Drew has struggled to find a team willing to offer him a multiyear contract, much less pay him anything close to $14 million per season. Also, by declining that offer from the Red Sox, any team outside of Boston that signs him will have to forfeit a draft pick, making teams less inclined to sign Drew.
Boras has failed to develop much of a market for Drew. Even after the Red Sox made a qualifying offer to him, they don’t seem motivated to bring him back as they can easily fill out the left side of their infield without him. Boras has tried to engage the New York Mets in contract talks, and even though many believe Drew could end up with the Mets, they haven’t shown a lot of motivation to sign him. They’re only willing to sign him on their own terms, and they may actually be better off not signing Drew. A couple of other teams have shown some interest, but nothing substantial has developed, leaving the Red Sox and the Mets as the most likely destinations.
Boras has become so desperate to find a team for Drew that he has said Drew would be able to play multiple positions outside of shortstop to increase his value and versatility, essentially making him a glorified utility player. Boras has also floated the idea of Drew not signing until June so that the team signing him doesn’t have to forfeit a draft pick. But both of these ideas are a sign that Boras is desperate to get Drew signed and that he has failed his client terribly.
Drew can work out as much as he wants, but not going through spring training with a major league team will leave him unprepared for the season, doing himself a disservice, especially since he’ll likely end up being a free agent next offseason. Moreover, the longer he waits to sign, the less money he’ll make — especially if he waits until June and only ends up playing part of the season. A player like Drew shouldn’t be in this position; he should have signed a contract a long time ago, and Boras is the person to blame.