J.D. Drew used the leverage at his disposal, and a supposedly savvy baseball guy is left with his trousers around his ankles. From the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin.
Outfielder J.D. Drew (above) opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Dodgers on Thursday, forfeiting $33 million in a bet he can make more money by signing with another team.
The decision blasted a gaping hole into a lineup already in need of reinforcement and scrambled the Dodgers’ winter strategy three days before the start of the free-agent signing period. General Manager Ned Colletti said he was “surprised” and “disappointed,” because Drew said repeatedly last season that he did not plan to exercise his opt-out clause.
“I know J.D. is a spiritual guy and a man of his word,” Colletti said. “I guess he changed his word.”
Drew, 30, signed a five-year, $55-million contract with the Dodgers after the 2004 season, when Paul DePodesta was general manager. The contract allowed Drew to opt out after two years, a provision for which he said he asked in case he and his wife did not like living in Los Angeles.
During the season, Drew said he and his wife had discovered that they enjoyed Southern California. Drew repeated throughout the year that he did not plan to exercise the opt-out clause, telling Times columnist T.J. Simers in August, “I just want to give you some fun for the next few years.”
In the final week of the regular season, he reiterated he would remain with the Dodgers. “At some point, you make your commitments and you stick to them,” he told the Orange County Register.
It says a lot about the state of the market that an oft injured outfielder such as Drew is reasonably sure he can command more than $11 million per year on the open marker.
The as-yet-undecided Tom Glavine provisionally declared his free agency yesterday. The Mets’ 2007 starting rotation is looking more and more like Perez, Maine and two days of rain.