Don't trade in those No. 7 Stephen Drew jerseys just yet.
Despite an ESPNBoston.com report Wednesday that the free agent shortstop Drew was moving on from the Red Sox, CSNNE.com Red Sox insider Sean McAdam told "SportsNet Central" that Drew leaving Boston isn't a certainty.
A WEEI.com report Thursday said the Sox hadn't "closed the door" on Drew. Based on what he's hearing, McAdam agreed.
"The Red Sox haven't closed the door to any sort of future deal," McAdam said. "There would be a limit to how long they want to commit, give that the left side of the infield is an area of depth in the organization, starting with Xander Bogaerts and then moving on to Devin Marrero, another promising shortstop who'll probably start at Double-A and isn't too far away.
"So, they do have some options and they don't want to block the progress of any of those players. But there's a reason they offered him a [$14.1 million] qualifying offer and it goes beyond getting a draft pick in compensation. I do think it is likely that he gets more than a two-year deal elsewhere. Remember that compensation could be a drag on his value and maybe it's best that he come back here for two more years."
Drew signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Red Sox last winter and turned down the qualifying offer on Monday. Drew hit .253 with 13 homers and 67 RBI in the regular season and struggled (6-for-54) at the plate, but was outstanding defensively in the postseason.
If Drew does leave, McAdam said he sees the Red Sox going into spring training with Bogaerts, who impressed in the postseason, as the starter and the team likely signing a journeyman backup as a kind of mentor for the 21-year-old.
Veteran utility infielder John McDonald was acquired late last season, but the Red Sox would likely want a better bat than McDonald would provide, McAdam said.
Another area where the Red Sox depth could be useful is in starting pitching. McAdam said that while Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington had said that he would go into spring training with six starting pitchers (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Ryan Dempster), other GMs have been approaching Cherington about the availability of his starters via trade.
"If [other teams] are willing to overpay, then he'd certainly move one," McAdam said, adding that the Red Sox also have a stockpile of young pitching talent in the minors that might be able to fill any gaps in the major league rotation.
"I think the Red Sox want to start providing an opportunity for those [young] guys rather than waiting until 2015, when half of those six veterans are eligible for free agency," McAdam said.