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Bob Ryan: ‘Drew’s Signing Addressing Defense’

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 30: Stephen Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox fields a ball against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Six of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stephen Drew (Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Stephen Drew is back with the Red Sox, this after signing for the remainder of 2014 for roughly $10 million – the pro-rated amount of the $14.1 million qualifying offer he declined this past offseason.

Is signing Drew smart, or is it a sign of desperation since Boston is 20-24 more than one-quarter of the way through the season?

“It’s more of addressing a very serious concern, which is the defense,” Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan said on the John Feinstein Show. “Xander Bogaerts has simply not provided the kind of short-stopping that you need – and nobody ever wanted Drew to go anyway. They made him a $14-million qualifying offer, and he rejected it, as everybody does.

“But this will make the pitchers happy, (and) it’ll make the manager happy. The guy it won’t make happy is Will Middlebrooks because I think he’s the odd-man out. Bogaerts will probably move to third more often than not. He’s the future. He’s going to be fine. But he’s just not ready to play big-time shortstop.”

Drew, 31, hit .253 with 13 home runs, 67 RBIs, 29 doubles and eight triples last year, helping Boston to the World Series. He also, of course, played great defense.

And so, the Red Sox can go one of two ways in 2014. They can call the season a lost cause because they won’t be able to “replicate last year’s blissful circumstance,” or they could be encouraged by the fact that – despite how badly they’ve played – they’re just 3.5 games out of first in what has been, surprisingly, a mediocre division.

Before the season, many thought the AL East would be as strong as it’s ever been. Instead, Baltimore (23-20) – which has a losing record at home and a run differential of minus-1 – is in first place.

“Some one-eyed man is going to be the king in the land of (the) blind,” Ryan said. “(The Red Sox are) not going to give up, that being the case.”

Feinstein also asked Ryan for his thoughts on Sports Illustrated’s list of the 35 most disliked people in sports. Ryan had not yet seen the list, but many of the names were predictable: Donald Sterling at 1, Alex Rodriguez at 2, Ryan Braun at 3, Richie Incognito at 4, Dan Snyder at 9 and Mark Emmert at 12.

But No. 7? That, surprisingly, was Richard Sherman. Is this just because of his rub-it-in-your-face tirade following the Seahawks’ win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship, or is the dislike for Sherman also a function of him being black with dreadlocks?

“I think a lot of (it is) the latter,” Ryan said. “I think it’s probably 30/70 in favor of the latter. I mean, the guy’s smart, the guy’s refreshing and he walks the walk. That’s what infuriates some people, I guess. He’s good. He’s very good.

“It just shows you a little bit that we are not as post-racial as we like to think we are – or certainly, God knows, as we ought to be.”

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