Nationals re-sign Stephen Drew

The Nationals bolstered their bench on Thursday, reportedly re-signing veteran infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year contract that could net him up to $4.7 million if he reaches certain incentives.

Drew revived his career in 2015, becoming an integral bench piece in Dusty Baker’s first year at the Nationals’ helm, slashing .266/.339/.524 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 70 games during a season interrupted by a bout with vertigo that sent him to the disabled list. He played second base, shortstop and third base, and showed some pop as a pinch-hitter, with a .940 OPS and three homers.

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Drew, who turns 34 on March 16, will earn a guaranteed salary of $3.5 million and can earn up to $1.2 million in incentives. He had a salary of $3 million last year.

With Trea Turner slated to take over at shortstop for the traded Danny Espinosa, Drew becomes an important depth piece on the 25-man roster. Drew has played 994 of his 1188 major league games at shortstop, and his re-signing could push Wilmer Difo to Triple-A Syracuse.

With Drew, a left-handed hitter, and right-handed hitting backup outfielder Chris Heisey, the Nationals boast some balanced power in reserve. Catcher Jose Lobaton, first baseman Clint Robinson and one of two outfielders - Michael A. Taylor or Brian Goodwin - could comprise the remainder of the bench.

Drew is a career .252/.318/.424 hitter with 122 homers and 505 RBIs in 11 major league seasons with the Diamondbacks, Yankees, Red Sox, A’s and Nationals. His 2016 renaissance came after he struggled for the previous two seasons, posting a .187/.257/.352 slash line with the Yankees.

With the addition of Drew, the Nationals now have 38 players on the 40-man roster.

The Washington Post first reported the Nats’ deal with Drew, while FanRag Sports first reported the details of the contract.

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