Drew's condition holds up Red Sox deal

Drew's condition holds up Red Sox deal
December 20th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Drew's condition holds up Red Sox deal

Drew's condition holds up Red Sox deal


Associated Press

BOSTON - Two weeks after they reached a preliminary agreement, the Boston Red Sox still haven't finalized their contract with J.D. Drew.
"There's some stuff in the medical reports that the team was not aware of," Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Tuesday. "It hasn't risen to the level of a dispute yet."
The Boston Herald reported Saturday that the outfielder's medical exam raised "a red flag" that the team wanted to investigate further. Reports in the Herald and Boston Globe have mentioned the condition of his right shoulder.
Neither Boston general manager Theo Epstein, owner John Henry nor Drew's agent, Scott Boras, have commented about the shoulder. Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer said last week that, in the midst of negotiations over another Boras client, Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, finalizing Drew's agreement had been delayed.
"His contract is fairly complicated and Scott and Theo have been fairly busy on some other things," Hoyer said. "They just need to dot some I's and cross some T's."
On Dec. 5 at baseball's winter meetings, Boras confirmed a preliminary agreement with the Red Sox. Epstein stressed at the time that the deal was pending a physical, but commented on how Drew would fit in the team's lineup if everything went through.
Drew's contract calls for annual salaries of $14 million, but if Drew can't meet set levels of games played, some of the final year's $14 million would be deferred.
The Red Sox envision the lefty hitting Drew playing right field and batting fifth, a weak spot in the order last season, behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Trot Nixon, last year's starting right fielder, is a free agent. Wily Mo Pena, who also played there last season, figures to be Boston's fourth outfielder.
The 31-year-old Drew had surgery on his right shoulder and right wrist in September 2005 but played in a career-high 146 games last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also drove in a career-high 100 runs. But he hit only 20 homers, an average of one every 7.3 games, his lowest in four seasons. He slugged .498, 14 points below his career average, but raised his slugging percentage every month from June on, including a torrid .683 figure for September.
Drew hit nine homers in his first 46 games but none in his next 43 before finding his power again with 11 homers in his last 57 games.
He played only 72 games in 2005, primarily because of a broken left wrist sustained when he was hit by a pitch that ended his season on July 3. He became a free agent after last season when he opted out of the last three years of his $55 million, five-year contract with the Dodgers.

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