When I woke up Monday morning, this is one of the first things I saw:
Seven. Here they are, counting only the guys who saw the most games at shortstop in a particular season:
Remember, the Red Sox essentially dumped Scutaro because -- reportedly, of course -- a) they figured he wasn't worth $6 million, and b) they had Mike Aviles at hand. Well, Scutaro a) essentially led the Giants to their second World's Championship in three years, and b) has been deemed worth $20 million over the next three seasons, and c) apparently Aviles didn't pass the audition, despite all those nice things management was saying about his defense before the season.
Most of which is neither here nor there, and is both water under the bridge and over the dam. Point being, the Red Sox haven't enjoyed the greatest of luck with shortstops for a while now; it's really sort of a pity they can't just play without one. But play with one they must. And with Stephen Drew reportedly signing a one-year contract for $10 million, it will presumably be eight shortstops in 10 years, and then nine shortstops in 11 years. Which is sort of an odd thing, especially for a franchise that's usually in the thick of things.
Is Drew's new contract really a testament to Scott Boras's magical abilities? I suppose every contract signed by a Scott Boras client is, to some degree. Boras is so good, he probably gets more money for his client, almost every time, than just about any other agent would get. But I think Boras's abilities really come to the fore with players like Prince Fielder. I suspect that Drew's deal was pretty straightforward; after a terrible season, Drew was probably hoping for a short-term deal that would a) keep him in the clover, and b) set him up for a huge multi-year deal next winter.
Assuming, of course, that he plays well in 2013. Which of course is the rub. On the 20th of July in 2011, Drew suffered a badly broken right ankle while sliding into home plate. After missing nearly a year, Drew returned to the Diamondbacks' lineup last June. But he really wasn't the same, either for the D-backs or, after a trade, the Athletics. Generally a pretty good hitter and a decent fielder before the injury, Drew was neither in 2012.
Essentially, the Red Sox are betting $9.5 million that five months of rest will be enough to transmogrify Drew from the replacement-level player he was in 2012 to the $10 million player he used to be. Because he really used to be worth that kind of money. No, he never became the star the Diamondbacks hoped he would become. But from 2008 through '11, Drew batted .273/.333/.454, with a 103 OPS+ that's really quite good for a shortstop with a decent glove. In '12 he wasn't really quite good, or quite good, or even just good. Which is why those two-year numbers, referenced at the top of this missive, don't seem worth nearly $10 million and do seem to mean Scott Boras is really excellent at his job.
Which he is. But Stephen Drew is probably going to be a good baseball player again. He was going to get, oh, something north of $8 million regardless of his agent. Even without an agent, I'll wager. Because he used to be a good baseball player, and that's what they get. Also, because the Red Sox have money to burn and it probably won't matter how well Drew actually plays next season.