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Red Sox say they won't meet Stephen Drew's price. Will the Cardinals?

The Boston Red Sox are conceding that shortstop Stephen Drew almost certainly won't be back next season.

But that doesn't necessarily equate to good news for the St. Louis Cardinals, an obvious fit for the free agent shortstop.

ESPN reports that the Red Sox are pessimistic about keeping Drew because there is so much interest in him that the bidding is expected to go beyond the length of the contract they're willing to offer.

Meanwhile Drew's agent, Scott Boras, recently said that he thinks the shortstop merits a contract similar to the 8-year, $120-million deal Elvis Andrus signed with the Texas Rangers last year. That's absolutely crazy because Drew, who will turn 31 in spring training, is six years older than Andrus -- plus he hasn't exactly been the same player since a gruesome 2011 leg injury.

Since the injury he's a .245 hitter who averages eight homers and 45 RBIs a season. Before it he was a .272 hitter with 13 homers and 55 RBIs per MLB campaign.

Because they're flush with cash due to expiring contracts and also because they could sign Drew without having to deal with the folly that is opposing general managers asking for Oscar Taveras, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal and Bill DeWitt Jr.'s dog in exchange for their 35-year-old third string shortstop, the Cardinals ought to make a play for the free agent.

But, if I was the St. Louis GM, I'd draw the line at paying drew $45-48 million for four years -- which I believe is over-paying for a guy of his talents. Beyond that, let the members of the More Money Than Brains Club fight it out for Drew's services.