In listing the reasons why Stephen Drew is still out there on the free agent market, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News cited an official with one team that the shortstop’s medicals “are raising some concerns.” Well, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com hears otherwise:
Drew underwent surgery to repair a fractured ankle in 2011 and wasn’t quite himself upon returning in 2012, but he rebounded with the Red Sox last season by hitting .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI over 124 games while playing excellent defense. The 30-year-old missed some time around the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, but he finished the regular season strong before struggling offensively in the playoffs.
Even if Drew is “perfectly healthy,” it’s not too difficult to understand why he’s still looking for a home, as he’s attached to draft pick compensation and few teams are willing to make a costly upgrade at shortstop at this stage of the winter. On on a related note, Martino hears that the Red Sox and Mets are the “only known clubs” to be engaged with Drew and his agent Scott Boras. He would likely have to settle for a one-year deal to return to Boston and the Mets appear content waiting out the market.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.