Because he received a qualifying offer from the Red Sox and signing him will require the forfeiture of a top draft pick, there was some thought that free agent shortstop Stephen Drew might struggle to attract multiple lucrative offers on the open market this offseason. But that apparently won’t be the case.
A source told Rob Bradford of WEEI on Saturday that “a bunch of teams (are) moving quick” on Drew, who inked a one-year, $9.5 million deal with Boston last winter and is now looking to cash in big.
The 30-year-old former first-round pick hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI in 124 games this summer for the World Series champs while playing his usual brand of steady defense at short.
The other shortstops on the market this winter: Jhonny Peralta, Robert Andino, Clint Barmes, Willie Bloomquist, Jamey Carroll, Alexi Casilla, Luis Cruz, Rafael Furcal, Alex Gonzalez, Nick Green, Brendan Harris, Cesar Izturis, Munenori Kawasaki, John McDonald, Cody Ransom and Brendan Ryan.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said last week on WEEI that he hopes Drew returns.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.