Stephen Drew free agency: Red Sox willing to move on without shortstop

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Drew has had a hard time drawing interest this offseason as any team wanting to sign him would have to relinquish a draft pick.

The Boston Red Sox still appear to want shortstop Stephen Drew back with the team, but they are fully prepared to move on without him, reports John Tomase of the Boston Herald.

Manager John Farrell spoke Saturday, saying the team did not need "a lingering what-if" with Drew still available while noting the team needs to set their lineup construction so they can begin preparing for the upcoming 2014 season.

Drew, 30, spent the 2013 season with the Red Sox on a one-year deal he signed after missing much of the previous two seasons due to an ankle injury. He hit .253/.333/.443 over 124 games with Boston, good enough for the team to make him a qualifying offer. In part, that has been what is holding him up from signing as it appears no team is currently willing to part with the draft pick signing him would require.

The Yankees and Mets have both been oft-mentioned in Drew rumors, though neither appears to be a likely destination at the moment. The Twins and Athletics have also come up as potential landing spots, but only briefly.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have top prospect Xander Bogaerts prepared to take over full-time at shortstop moving forward. While Drew has shown an increasing willingness to play other positions, he would be relegated to a utility role in Boston with Will Middlebrooks at third and Dustin Pedroia entrenched at second. Furthermore, Drew would have to take a lesser salary on a short-term deal to fit with the clubs plans.

The pseudo-retirement of starting pitcher Ryan Dempster could open the Red Sox up further in any contract negotiations with Drew. They will be saving over $13 million on Dempster's deal that could be used to sign Drew and still stay under the luxury tax threshold.

Boston has not made any solid offers to Drew since the qualifying offer in mid-November. Instead, they have been willing to wait it out and see if he will come back for a more cost-effective deal. With spring training starting up, it's possible Drew may relent and sign a cheaper contract soon.

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