VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals infielder Stephen Drew feels for former Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, who remains on the free-agent market. Desmond turned down the Nats' $15.8 million qualifying offer in the offseason, a decision which then meant a loss of a Draft pick for any team that signed the 30-year-old veteran of seven big league seasons.
Drew went through the same ordeal after helping the Red Sox win a World Series title in 2013. Drew was available until May of the following year, when he re-signed with Boston. Drew would like to see the qualifying offer go away, or at least the part that costs teams a Draft pick for signing a player who turned down a qualifying offer.
"As a union, as a whole, we have to check that policy out that is in effect for us," Drew said to MLB.com. "Our union has to take a good look at that and see if we can come up with something different."
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While he was looking for a team to sign him after the '13 season, Drew said he worked out every day and was able to take batting practice with college teams in Miami. By the time he returned to the big leagues, Drew acknowledged that he was behind the 8-ball. He was in great shape and all, but -- as he put it -- he didn't see live pitching every day.
"You are not seeing it every day, so it makes it tough," Drew said.
Asked how he feels about Desmond still being on the free-agent market, Drew said, "It's tough. I came off a World Series in '13. It's tough to watch. A player like Desmond -- I know that feeling. The union has to do a good job going over that rule and check out what we can come up with. As players, we probably want to get rid of it. We need to really take a look at the way the logistics are. As a players union, we have to sit down and really see how we can go about it, and then go from there."
Drew didn't have any problems signing with a team this past offseason. Last December, he signed a one-year deal worth $3 million with the Nationals. He is expected to be a backup infielder behind Anthony Rendon, Danny Espinosa and Daniel Murphy.
Drew said he signed with the Nationals because he wants to win another World Series title.
"I've been blessed playing with some playoff teams," Drew said. "You come here and you've got a bunch of talent here. … I want to get back to the playoffs. That's it. There were other offers, but my role right now is to play wherever they need me. Whatever I can do to help this team win, that's what I'm going to do."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.