The Yankees are close to bringing back Stephen Drew on a one-year contract, a source confirmed Tuesday night, and the deal is expected to pay him $5 million in addition to performance-based bonuses.
With Didi Gregorius and Brendan Ryan set to open the season as a platoon at shortstop, Drew figures to play second base, a position at which the Yankees traded their only experienced option by sending Martin Prado to the Marlins last month.
Drew, who turns 32 in March, never played anywhere but shortstop before last season, when the Yankees moved him to second base for 34 games after acquiring him in a deadline trade with the Red Sox. He batted .150 with three home runs and a .219 on-base percentage during his 46-game stay in the Bronx.
Overall, Drew batted a career-low .162 in 85 games last season, and attributed his struggles to a late start. He missed all of spring training and went unsigned until May 21, when the Red Sox finally brought him back on a one-year, $9.5-million deal.
Drew's agent, Scott Boras, said during last month's winter meetings that some teams were pursuing him as a second baseman, even with other clubs -- such as the Mets -- still in need of a shortstop. Drew was on the Mets' radar, but it appears his price didn't fall quite far enough for them to make a serious push. Sandy Alderson has said they could start the season with Wilmer Flores at shortstop -- backed up by Ruben Tejada -- and Drew was one of the last remaining options still on the market.
The Yankees also could have gone the younger route at second, with a pair of prospects -- Rob Refsnyder, 23, and Jose Pirela, 25, -- in line for a shot at the job, but Drew now gives the Yankees a veteran at that position, along with more insurance at shortstop.