Veteran infielder Stephen Drew is hanging up his spikes, he tells Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post (Twitter links). The fifteenth overall pick of the 2004 draft, Drew ended up playing a dozen seasons in the majors.
Drew was in the Nationals’ locker room this evening to visit his former teammates. He ultimately finished out his career with two years in D.C. — a strong, bounceback effort in 2016 followed by an injury-plagued final go last season.
From the time he was chosen out of Florida State University by the Diamondbacks, Drew was on a fast track to the majors. He spent nearly half of the 2006 season in the bigs, turning in a productive debut effort that preceded several years of duty as the D-Backs’ regular shortstop. Drew’s output waned at the tail end of his time in Arizona, but he finished his stint there with over three thousand plate appearances of .266/.328/.436 hitting.
Dealt to the A’s in August of 2012, after a rough start to a season in which he was returning from a major ankle injury, Drew turned in a solid effort down the stretch. That led to a one-year free-agent deal with the Red Sox. After turning in 501 plate appearances of .253/.333/.443 hitting in Boston, Drew received and declined a qualifying offer.
The ensuing winter was one of note for the still-nascent qualifying offer system. Drew and Kendrys Morales each languished on the market after rejecting their offers, with organizations balking at the cost not only of salary but also of a top draft selection. With Drew prepared to wait until the June draft, at which time he’d have been freed of the compensation rules, he went back to the Sox on another one-year contract that promised him a pro-rated portion of the QO price (then $14.1MM).
Unfortunately, Drew’s second go with the Red Sox did not go as well as the first. He ended up finishing the 2014 season with the Yankees, moving to second base and then reprising that same role for the ensuing campaign.
When Drew hit the open market in the 2015-16 winter, he was coming off of a two-year stretch in which he slashed just .185/.257/.347 in his two stops. But he picked up a reserve utility role with the Nationals — whose GM, Mike Rizzo, had been the D-Backs’ director of scouting when Drew was taken — and rewarded the club with a .266/.339/.524 batting line and eight home runs in his 165 plate appearances.
Drew says his non-playing days will begin with a gig coaching his kids. MLBTR wishes him the best of luck in that and any future endeavors.