Just because the Red Sox obtained backup shortstop Jonathan Herrera Wednesday in exchange for Franklin Morales doesn't take them out of the running for Stephen Drew.
The Sox remain interested in bringing back Drew -- on their terms, of course. At 30, Drew is seeking a multiyear commitment and his agent, Scott Boras, said last week there are a number of teams interested in offering a multiyear deal. Some of those teams, Boras explained, needed to make other moves and/or address other needs before turning their attention to Drew.
Whether Boras was bluffing or not remains to be seen. Drew's value as a free agent is hampered somewhat by the fact he comes attached with compensation. Any team signing Drew will have to forfeit a draft pick next June, and for many teams that would come in the form of a first-round selection.
Such free agents often see their market developing later in the offseason when either teams get desperate to fill a need or the players themselves readjust their asking prices. This happened with both outfielder Michael Bourn and pitcher Kyle Lohse last winter. (Both Bourn and Lohse, not incidentally, are represented by Boras.)
The Red Sox would welcome Drew back on a one- or two-year deal, since he provides sure-handed defense and better-than-average offensive production for the shortstop position. Drew also provides a left-handed bat in an otherwise all-righthanded-hitting infield with Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts.
The presence of Boagerts -- along with shortstop prospect Deven Marrero and third baseman Garin Cecchini -- has the Sox unwilling to offer Drew anything more than two years.
But whether Drew or Bogaerts is the starting shortstop next spring doesn't lessen the need for a backup at the position. Either way, the Sox needed a utility infielder with experience at shortstop to serve as experience depth at the position. In Herrera, the Sox now have one.
As for Morales, he was mainly a reliever and could also fill in as a spot starter. But the Sox have two other lefties in their bullpen (Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller), and numerous other options (Brandon Workman, Allen Webster) to provide depth in the starting rotation.
Morales, who is eligible for salary arbitration and projects to make close to $2 million in 2014, had become an over-priced middle-relief piece.