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Red Sox continue to keep tabs on Drew

Cherington likes shortstop, but is waiting for deal that makes sense

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though the Red Sox aren't likely to execute a single transaction at this year's Winter Meetings, which conclude on Thursday, they continue to keep tabs on the market for free agent shortstop Stephen Drew.

That market remains shrouded in mystery at the moment, as agent Scott Boras didn't get into specifics on where things stand regarding his client, who helped the Red Sox win the World Series roughly six weeks ago.

"Well, we've been effective," Boras said regarding his negotiations for Drew. "He's going to have numerous options to choose from. Obviously, there's a variety of teams that want a shortstop of his defensive acumen and capability with the bat."

The Red Sox are one of the teams in the "want Drew" category, but they are seemingly waiting for the asking price to drop.

"We've kept the door open," said general manager Ben Cherington. "We think we have a pretty good solution at shortstop if Stephen's not here, but we like Stephen and the job he did. Because of that, we've kept the door open. We're just going to continue to listen and talk and see where it ends up."

Yes, the Red Sox like Xander Bogaerts, who started at third base for Boston in the final nine games of the postseason and could slide back to his natural position of shortstop should Drew sign elsewhere.

And nobody likes Bogaerts more than Boras, the man who represents him.

"Bogaerts really established himself in the Major Leagues. When you've got a young man that age playing in that environment, it's a pretty remarkable achievement," Boras said. "I think Xander Bogaerts is going to be one of the top five players in baseball."

Yet Boston's 2014 team might be best off with Drew again at short and Bogaerts patrolling the hot corner.

Cherington and Boras did meet on Wednesday.

"Well, we had a chance to talk. We had another good conversation, and we've been having conversations since the end of the season. Yeah, I think we have a sense of what's important to [Drew], and I think he has a sense of what's important to us," said Cherington. "We'll see where it goes."

It isn't necessarily true, said Cherington, that the Red Sox are just going to sit back and wait for Drew's price to drop down.

"I'd rather not get into specifics of our conversation, but I don't think we would ever ... if a deal makes sense for us, we would do it today on any player," Cherington said. "I don't think there's a need to wait on anything if the deal makes sense. It's just a matter of whether or not it makes sense. We're still working on that."

There is also the matter of Draft compensation to consider. Because the Red Sox made Drew a qualifying offer, they can receive a pick if he signs elsewhere.

"Yeah, they're valuable," Cherington said. "You've got to factor that into every decision, whether it's a free agent you're trying to retain or one you're signing from another team. It's a part of the equation. I think, more and more, teams have started to work on exactly what the value is and I'm not sure anyone, including the Red Sox, has figured that out precisely yet. But we know sort of in the ballpark what the value of those picks are, so we have to factor that in."

The Mets are one club that could compete with the Red Sox for Drew's services. Beyond that, there's been very little buzz regarding teams in the hunt.

If Drew had accepted Boston's qualifying offer, he would have been locked in at a one-year deal for $14.1 million.

Boras stands by Drew's decision to decline, and still thinks his client will draw a multi-year deal.

"That's not a problem," assured Boras.

Then why the holdup?

"We have to look at the totality of what's available to him," Boras said. "And some of the offers and positions teams are taking are somewhat contingent on another move. And so, to have a full slate of what's available to him is not yet something that's ripe."

When things do ripen, perhaps the Red Sox will have their World Series-winning shortstop back in tow.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.

Boston Red Sox, Stephen Drew