Drew's Two-Year Deal Is A "Good Fit"
Stephen Drew

Posted Jan 24, 2011


With little middle infield help in the upper levels of their minor league system, the Arizona Diamondbacks locked up shortstop Stephen Drew to a two-year deal that buys out his remaining arbitration-eligible years and includes a mutual option for 2013, his first season of free agent-eligibility.

The Diamondbacks did not enter the offseason looking to sign arbitration-eligible shortstop Stephen Drew to a multi-year contract. It just sort of happened, and in the end agent Scott Boras and Drew agreed to a two-year, $13.75 million deal that bought out his Drew's two arbitration years.

"Pleased to get that one done," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said.

"I thought that it was fair for Stephen and fair for the club. It's a good fit," Boras told FOXSportsArizona.com

Drew hit .278 with 15 home runs and 61 RBI in 2010 and set career highs with 10 stolen bases, 62 walks, and a .352 on-base percentage. He tied for the lead among NL shortstops with 33 doubles and was third in on-base percentage, slugging percentage (.458), and OPS (.810). Drew also had a career-low 10 errors while tying Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki for the highest fielding percentage (.984) in the league. Drew played an NL-high 1,259 1/3 innings.

"The shortstop position is a very tough position to fill. Especially a premium shortstop like him, who I think is one of the top shortstops in the National League," commended Towers. "We had a really hard time agreeing on what the one-year number was. We planned on having Stephen for the next couple of years and we're able to avoid this process next year, which is nice."

Drew will receive $4.65 million in 2011 and $7.75 million in 2012, with a $10 million mutual option for 2013 that includes a $1.35 million buyout if either side declines the option.

"Hopefully it gives him some comfort -- he knows he is here in a Diamondback uniform for the next two years and doesn't have to worry about playing for a contract," Towers said. "Everything I've heard about Stephen Drew, he's going to give you the effort regardless if he is on a ... multi-year deal or a one-year deal."

SNAKE BYTES

--LHP Joe Saunders agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract to avoid arbitration January 18. Acquired in the trading-deadline deal that sent RHP Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels, Saunders went 3-7 with a 4.25 ERA in 13 starts with the D-backs. He had a career-high 114 strikeouts in a career-high 203 1/3 innings between the two teams, finishing 9-17.  Those 17 defeats led the major leagues.

--RHP Aaron Heilman signed a one-year, $2 million contract to rejoin the D-backs, an offer that includes a chance to compete for a job in the rotation. Heilman went 5-8 with six saves and a 4.50 ERA last year in 70 games, all out of the bullpen. He chose free agency rather than accept the D-backs' earlier offer of arbitration in order to try to find a job as a starter. "It sounded like he had better offers other places as a reliever, but we're willing to give him an opportunity to battle it out against guys like (Zach) Duke and (Barry) Enright and see if he can win a job," GM Kevin Towers said. "We certainly didn't give him any guarantees. He's a guy who takes the ball every day, and we are trying to create as much bullpen depth as we can. If it doesn't work out as a starter, our bullpen gets that much better."

--Five-time All-Star and 2001 World Series hero Luis Gonzalez will serve as the Ambassador for 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Summer. As part of his role, Gonzalez will be involved in a series of activities on behalf of MLB in the months leading up to the Midsummer Classic and ancillary All-Star events.

--RHP Brian Sweeney and RHP Daniel Stange were designated for assignment to make room for INF/OF Willie Bloomquist and RHP Aaron Heilman on the 40-man roster. Sweeney was one of GM Kevin Towers' first offseason signings. Stange, a seventh-round pick in the 2006 draft whose career was set back by Tommy John surgery in 2008, had a 13.50 in four appearances in his first major league call-up last year.

DIAMOND STAT: 9 -- Categories in which Stephen Drew finished in the top three among NL regular shortstops last season, including triples (12, first), doubles (33, tied first) and OPS (.810, third).

QUOTABLE: "The All-Star Game is baseball's premier showcase and I'm honored to serve as the event's spokesperson in the city I will always call my professional home.  I spent the best years of my career in Phoenix with the D-backs and being involved with the first Midsummer Classic here is very special." -- D-backs Special Assistant Luis Gonzalez on being named All-Star Ambassador.


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