As originally reported by CBS’ Jon Heyman, the Washington Nationals have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran utility infielder Stephen Drew. The move is a continuation of a surprisingly quiet offseason from Washington, who have followed up their big-budget disappointment of 2015 by signing only veterans over age 30 this winter.
Drew’s 2014 and 2015 seasons, split between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, were disappointments, as he slashed a combined .185/.257/.347 from the plate in those two years. Drew had sat out the early months of the 2014 season after rejecting a one-year qualifying offer from Boston in the previous offseason. In 2013, again as a member of the Red Sox, Drew had hit .253/.333/.443 while providing quality defense at shortstop, helping the team win the World Series.
Perhaps the Nationals were interested in signing Drew as something of an insurance policy, so that the 2016 version of the team would be able to turn to a veteran if the regular starters sustained injuries. Last season, Washington ended up giving significant playing time to formerly unproven players like Clint Robinson, Matt den Dekker, and Michael Taylor. The team’s infield starters already appear to be set for 2016, including a capable back-up in Danny Espinosa.