D-Backs reach deal with Drew

D-Backs reach deal with Drew

NEW YORK -- It took almost a year, but the Diamondbacks finally got their man as they signed shortstop Stephen Drew, their No. 1 pick from last year's draft, just before the 9 p.m. (MST) deadline Monday.

The five-year contract is for a guaranteed $5.5 million that could be worth as much as $7.5 million. There was a $4 million signing bonus.

"I remained optimistic through some trying times, but I always thought we could get something done," Arizona scouting director Mike Rizzo said.

Drew was regarded by many as the best position player available in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, but slipped to the Diamondbacks, who held the 15th pick, in large part because of signability concerns. Drew's agent is Scott Boras, a notoriously tough negotiator.

The Diamondbacks made what they said was their final offer in April that is believed to be the terms that Drew finally agreed to.

"It showed that Stephen Drew really wanted to be a Diamondback," Rizzo said. "The fact that we were able to get this done was a total team effort from everyone with the Diamondbacks to the Drew family and to Scott."

Drew, whose brother, J.D., is the Dodgers starting right fielder, was a standout shortstop at Florida State University where he hit .344 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs during his junior year in 2004. He withdrew from classes at FSU last August and signed with the Independent League Camden Riversharks a few weeks ago.

The Diamondbacks had seen Drew play with the Riversharks and after having him report to extended Spring Training he will be sent to one of their Minor League teams.

"I would think it would probably be high A," Arizona general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said when asked about where Drew would start out in the Diamondbacks system.

The Diamondbacks advanced Class A team is the Lancaster JetHawks of the California League.

Some have speculated that Drew's future in the big leagues would be in the outfield, but the Diamondbacks are not among them.

"There's no question in our minds that he's going to be an everyday shortstop and a middle-of-the-order hitter in the big leagues," Rizzo said.

The signing of Drew comes one week before the 2005 First-Year Player Draft in which the Diamondbacks have the first selection. Justin Upton, a high school shortstop in Virginia, is one of the four players the Diamondbacks are considering for that pick. The other three -- Mike Pelfrey, Luke Hochevar and Craig Hansen -- are pitchers.

Both Rizzo and Garagiola said the signing of Drew would not affect which player they select.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.