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."
--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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