Dodgers sign Drew to a five-year contract

The Dodgers agreed to terms with outfielder J.D. Drew on a five-year contract, according to Dodger Executive Vice President and General Manager, Paul DePodesta. The five-year, $55 million contract will pay Drew $9 million next season with a $2 million signing bonus. He will receive $11 million in each of the four following seasons.

"J.D. is a bona fide offensive force in the prime of his career," said DePodesta. "He's one of the most complete players in the Majors and we expect him to be a cornerstone of the Dodgers for years to come."

Drew, 29, set career highs last season with 31 home runs, 93 runs batted in, 128 runs scored, 158 hits, 118 walks, 28 doubles and eight triples in 145 games for the National League Eastern Division Champion Atlanta Braves. He finished sixth in voting for the National League Most Valuable Player Award and ranked among the league leaders in several offensive categories, including runs scored (4th), on-base percentage (4th), walks (5th) and slugging percentage (9th).

In parts of seven Major League seasons, Drew has compiled a .287 career batting average with 127 homers, 373 RBI, a .391 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage with the Cardinals and Braves. He has appeared in the postseason in four of the past five seasons, twice reaching the National League Championship Series with the Cardinals and batting .360 (9-for-25) in 10 LCS games.

While playing the majority of his games in right field last season, Drew ranked fifth in the National League in outfield assists (12) and committed just three errors in 145 games in the field. He also registered a career-best 22-game hitting streak from June 30-July 26, the second-longest streak in the National League in 2004 behind Jeff Kent (25 games), who also signed with the Dodgers on Dec. 9.

Last season, Drew was one of nine National League players and 13 Major Leaguers to bat .300 or better with at least 100 runs scored, 30 homers and 90 runs batted in. He also joined Vladimir Guerrero, Bob Abreu and Carlos Lee as the only Major Leaguers to combine those numbers with 10 or more stolen bases.

A native of Valdosta, GA, Drew attended Florida State University and was selected in the first round (fifth overall pick) of the June 1998 First-Year Player Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. After becoming the first player to ever hit three home runs in a College World Series game when he did so in 1995 and winning the Golden Spikes Award in 1997, given annually to the nation's top amateur player, he finished eighth in Baseball America's collegiate "Player of the Century" poll in 1999.

Drew and his wife, Sheigh, reside in Hahira, GA. His younger brother, Tim, appeared in 11 games for the Atlanta Braves last season and has also played for the Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians. His youngest brother, Stephen, was a first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in the June 2004 First-Year Player Draft.