BOSTON (CBS) – As expected, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew all rejected the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer they received from the Red Sox last week and are now unrestricted free agents.
However, since the Red Sox extended a qualifying offer to each of them, the team will receive a compensatory draft pick should they free agents to sign elsewhere this off-season.
The 32-year-old Napoli will have plenty suitors on the open market after he hit .259 with 23 home runs in the regular season. He and the Red Sox had initially agreed on a three-year deal last off-season, but concerns over avascular necrosis (AVN) in the first baseman’s hips led to the two sides agreeing on just a one-year, incentive-laden pact.
But now, after making some big swings during Boston’s World Series run, Napoli should have no problems getting that multi-year deal — in Boston or elsewhere. It was reported last week that Boston has already made a multi-year offer to Napoli, but the first baseman is going to test the free agent waters.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury will also be testing free agency, and will likely get a mega-deal with his super agent Scott Boras leading the charge. The 30-year-old Ellsbury hit .298 for Boston in 134 regular season games, clubbing 172 hits and stealing 52 bases. He hit .344 in the postseason, scoring 14 runs in 16 playoff games for Boston.
Drew is coming off a one-year deal with Boston that paid him $9.5 million, and Boras (who also represents Drew) has said there is plenty of interest — and multi-year offers — in the shortstop heading into free agency despite his .111 batting average in the postseason.
The Red Sox could still re-sign the Drew in hopes of having a veteran on the left side of the field while Xander Bogaerts transitions to the Majors, but would likely move on should Drew command a multi-year deal.
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