Will Stephen Drew Return to A’s or Test Free Agency?

Oakland Athletics News

Drew could get a multi-year deal via free agency

Will Stephen Drew explore the free agent market when the 2012 season reaches an end?

He may have no choice if the Oakland A’s decline their half of the mutual option for $10 million. The 29-year-old Drew’s deal also includes a $1.35 million buyout, which the typically penny-pinching A’s will seemingly exercise.

As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Drew has turned around his season since arriving from the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 20 for minor leaguer Sean Jamieson. In Arizona, Drew had a .193 average and two home runs in 155 plate appearances. With the A’s, he has a .269 average, .731 OPS and four home runs in 145 plate appearances. Drew is providing additional spark to an offensively-starved ballclub.

At 88-68 entering Friday’s night’s games, Oakland held a two-game lead in the American League wild card race. A’s skipper Bob Melvin also managed Drew in Arizona, and he is comfortable with the younger brother of retired Major League outfielder J.D. Drew at shortstop.

The A’s do not have a Major League-ready shortstop prospect in their farm system, and – as Baseball News Source wrote – Drew is actually one of the best available shortstops in a thin free agent class. The A’s could always bring back former fan favorite Marco Scutaro, who has expressed an interest in returning to bay rival San Francisco.

Because of the slim pickings at shortstop on the free agent market this off-season, Drew could get a multi-year deal from a team in need of filling that position. Likely, he will wait and see if the A’s will pick up the $10 million option. If that happens, it would be interesting see if Drew returns on a one-year, $10 million deal or tests the free agent market for a multi-year deal that would bring more than a $10 million total.

 


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