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Drew's return contingent on moving payroll

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As his roster for next season continues to come into focus, general manager Ben Cherington is now prioritizing the addition of a player who can help man the left side of the infield.

Could that player wind up being the same one who manned shortstop for the team that won the World Series in 2013?

After all, Stephen Drew remains a free agent.

"I don't know. Can't handicap it," said Cherington. "We'll see. ... We obviously like him. He's a good player and did a really good job for us. If there's a way to make it work, we'll see if we can do that, but I can't handicap it right now."

For Drew to return, the Red Sox would likely have to move some payroll, perhaps from the rotation, where they are deep.

"I think it would depend on where we were and sort of where we're at with payroll at that time, budgeting," said Cherington. "As we do every year, we'll have a good-size payroll, and we're fortunate to be in that position, but even the Red Sox have a limit. At some point it gets harder to squeeze more into that, but we'll see."

Xander Bogaerts projects as the starting shortstop, with Will Middlebrooks set to play third base.

"We need two guys on the team that can play short no matter what the names are," Cherington said. "The roster needs two guys that can play short. So obviously, Bogaerts has a chance to be a part of the team, and he can play short. One way or another, we have to add to that. Brock Holt is a candidate for that, and he's done a good job for us, obviously he is someone we still think highly of. But we may look to add somebody on that side of the field, and more than likely, that someone would have the ability to play short, at least in some role."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Stephen Drew