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.
Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.
The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.
Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.
While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.
Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?