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Former Cardinals OF JD Drew likely to retire

It appears that former Cardinals outfielder JD Drew is ready to call it a career.

CBS reports that Drew is leaning towards retirement after missing half of the 2011 season with a variety of injuries.

If this is, in fact, the end it means that Drew made about $114 million to hit .278 with 242 homers over 14 seasons with St. Louis, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston. While the Cardinals were terrified at one point to trade the super talented Drew, it may turn out that his most significant accomplishment was serving as the bait in one of the greatest trades in Redbirds history.

Drew was swapped to the Braves along with Eli Marrero on Dec. 13, 2003, for handy reliever Ray King, durable starting pitcher Jason Marquis and perennial Cy Young Award competitor Adam Wainwright. That deal ties for the greatest swap of the Walt Jocketty era. Only Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy for Jim Edmonds compares.

The Cardinals front office types were afraid to deal Drew -- like an earlier-day Colby Rasmus -- because of his tremendous power and five-star reputation as a prospect. But he failed to take more than 400 at bats in his five seasons in St. Louis. He said it was injuries. Manager Tony La Russa didn't seem to think that Drew exactly had the eye of the tiger when it came to fighting through minor aches and pains to get on the field.

Drew's best season in St. Louis came in 2001 when he hit .323 with 27 homers and a .414 on-base percentage. But he still only managed to play in 109 games. Drew saw his pay rise to $3.7 million a year in 2003 as he neared free agency and the Cardinals were forced to decide if they wanted to pay Drew about $10 million a year to stay in St. Louis or if they wanted to trade him while they could get something in return.

The Redbirds sent the enigmatic outfielder to his home state Braves where he had his career year: a .305 batting average with 31 homers, 93 RBIs and a .436 on-base percentage. The result was a mega contract with the Dodgers that was to pay Drew $55 million over five years. But Ol' JD decided to opt out after year two of the deal. He signed a contract with the Red Sox that paid $14 million for each of five seasons.

Drew averaged about 120 games played per year in Boston, was a .264 hitter and he cracked the 20-homer mark only twice.