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Report: Red Sox could trade Jacoby Ellsbury, re-sign Cody Ross

Dec 4, 2012, 8:25 PM EDT

Jacoby Ellsbury Getty Images

Upside, shmupside.

Sources told the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham that the Red Sox are considering trading Jacoby Ellsbury and re-signing Cody Ross to play right field, with the newly signed Shane Victorino taking over in center field.

Ellsbury, the runner-up for AL MVP honors in 2011, is a free agent after the season and is considered unlikely to sign a long-term extension before he gets to test the waters.

Ross would be a candidate to receive the sixth two- or three-year deal handed out by the Red Sox this winter. They’ve added Victorino ($39 million for 3 years), Mike Napoli ($39 million for 3 years), Jonny Gomes ($10 million for 2 years) and David Ross ($6.4 million for 2 years), plus they’ve retained David Ortiz ($26 million-$30 million for two years). Ross is believed to be seeking about $24 million for three years.

If the Red Sox actually go that route, their odds of returning to contention in the AL East in 2013 would seem to grow even longer. Ellsbury has been injured and ineffective two of the last three years, but he was flat-out awesome in 2011, hitting .321/.376/.552 with 32 homers and 105 RBI in 660 at-bats, and it’s not as though he has any chronic physical problems. Plus, he probably wouldn’t bring all that much in return since he has just the one year left on his deal.

A Red Sox lineup with Ross replacing Ellsbury would also seem to be very susceptible to right-handed pitching:

CF Shane Victorino – S
2B Dustin Pedroia – R
DH David Ortiz – L
1B Mike Napoli – R
RF Cody Ross – R
LF Jonny Gomes – R
3B Will Middlebrooks – R
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia – S
SS Jose Iglesias – N/A

Victorino has always been better against lefties, and he slipped all of the way to .230/.295/.332 against righties last season. Ross and Gomes are also far better against lefties, though Gomes could at least be platooned with Daniel Nava. Napoli, the other new addition, did hit righties better than lefties last year, and he has a solid .253/.347/.498 line against them in his career (.273/.381/.529 against lefties).

  1. tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I hate to say it because he does have such a huge upside…..but if Ellsbury can bring back some real quality talent they should do it.

    The team isn’t contending this year anyway. They weren’t going to contend last year but postured way too long before biting the bullet and going into rebuilding mode.

    Do it now, and look toward the future.

    And I posted it before, but since becoming a starter Ellsbury has played in 548 out of 810 potential games (67%) and been a good player in 298 out of 810 games (37%) and a really outstanding player in 158 (19%)…..

    You can’t count on him. And I know, all his injuries have been “freak occurrences”….I understand….because I used to say the same thing in defense of Trot Nixon before I finally accepted that even if they are freak instances, they happen regularly and the team the entire season.

  2. uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Trading Ellsbury now I would think would make Ellsbury’s value relatively low right now. He’s been injured 2 of the last 3 years and missed significant time both years. With only 1 year left till he hits FA and with Boras as his agent I have to think both those factors would influence any prospective teams interest.

    • tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Playing for a contract has a way of motivating people.

      Maybe he takes a little more care to avoid those injuries.

      Some legitimate contender could get an MVP on rent.

    • ryan02190 - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:17 PM

      If the Mets can get someone on the caliber or Wil Myers, I’m sure that Ellsbury is much more valuable and could bring him in as well. Younger.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:07 AM

        Ryan, first off the Mets haven’t gotten anyone yet. Second, If your comparing Ellsbury to Dickey as to what they may fetch I think you are overestimating Ellsbury’s value. He has missed substantial time in 2 of the last 3 seasons. He has only this year of team control and then is a FA and represented by Scott Boras which doesn’t generally bode well for most of the teams that would want to re-sign a center-fielder. Third a pitcher who has performed as well as Dickey will get a much higher return for a team then Ellsbury will get for the Red Sox. I’m not saying Ellsbury has no value I just don’t believe he has anywhere near the value that Dickey has in a trade situation.

  3. illadelphiasphinest - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Wonder what the asking price is…. I can’t imagine it would be all that high with him becoming a FA at seasons end, and he has been very injury prone in 2 of the last 3 years. Maybe RAJ should ask and see if its reasonable. I’d perfer Jacoby to Bourn at this stage in FA.

  4. hammyofdoom - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    If the Red Sox feel like they cannot sign him to a deal during this year or after it then they should certainly trade him away and get what ever prospects they can in this crazy offseason for center fielders getting paid. They have Jackie Bradley Jr who is their 2nd-3rd best prospect right now being an excellent fielding CF with above average on base skills as well as hitting for average and if they think he’s their CF for 2014…sorry, but bye bye Ellsbury if you can get the team some talent.

    However, why in the bloody hell would you sign Cody Ross to probably a 3 year deal for this crap? If you’re going to trade Ellsbury just do it, but don’t make a potentially good deal look stupid by signing a good defensive yet bad offensively against 2/3 of the league type of player? If Ellsbury can get the Red Sox good prospects/pitching, get the deal done just dont freaking bookmark it by getting Cody Ross.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Imagine your Cody Ross for a minute. The Red Sox GM comes to you and your agent to strike a deal. Your agent whispers in your ear these guys just signed Napoli to 3 years/$39MM and Victorino to 3 years/$39MM. No way in hell Cody your going to take less from these guys then those 2 did he agent tells him.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:19 PM

        Yeah, I mean why would Ross let the fact that he’s not as good as those players and no one else would offer him anything close get in his way?

      • uyf1950 - Dec 5, 2012 at 6:37 AM

        seeingwhatsticks, I just want to say. Both Napoli and Victorino’s AAV contract comes to $13MM per season. The qualifying offer teams needed to make to receive a pick for a player leaving for FA was $13.3MM. Do you know why neither the Phillies or the Rangers made qualifying offers to Victorino or Napoli? It’s because they didn’t think either one of those players was worth it even for just 1 year and they were afraid they might accept. Yet along come the Red Sox and not only do they offer them basically the same dollar amount but they offer it to them for 3 years. Now if that doesn’t tell you those guys agents pulled the wool over Cherington’s eyes nothing will. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.
        So Cody Ross may not be worth 3 years and $39MM but neither were those 2 guys.

  5. tuberippin - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Jose Iglesias bats right-handed.

    • pdowdy83 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      I thought it was implying he might as well not bat at all.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 5, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Jose iglesias doesn’t always bat, but when he does, he bats right handed.

  6. crispybasil - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    What kind of return does Ellsbury realistically bring back at this point?

  7. malvord13 - Dec 4, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Lester for Myers and elsbury for a pitcher. Problems solved.

    • kcrobert10 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      As a Royals fan I’m tired of hearing myers name brought up for average pitchers at best. Everyone wants this kid so why trade him for nothing or average at best pitching that won’t win us a divison this year or next. Besides its not like the Royals can’t use a power hitting rightfielder themselves either.

      • illadelphiasphinest - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:21 PM

        The issue with the Royals is they don’t EVER spend money. So who are they going to get in return for Myers? They want a stud pitcher. But guess what those guys are expensive. Lester for 1yr for Myers is silly, same with Shields. So I cant see them pulling the trigger in any trade like that. I think it would have to take a package of young major leage pitcher under team control for a few years and a top prospect or 2.

      • kcrobert10 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:40 PM

        Let’s be realistic here even if the Royals trade for or sign a stud fa starting pitcher statistically speaking it would still be a very long shot to win there divison so in that case why why why trade a potential star right fielder.

      • illadelphiasphinest - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        Look what Baltimore and Oakland did……. Did anyone really have them making the playoffs this time last season? Maybe thats what they are thinking if they can add a stud.

  8. japauley13 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    red sox have been very interested in justin masterson all offseason.. a deal built around masterson for ellsbury?

    • teaspoon1731 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:13 PM

      if the sox managed to get masterson back, i’d consider forgiving them for the whole valentine thing.

      • japauley13 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        so youd be on board with a deal bringing masterson back, meanwhile giving up ellsbury?

      • teaspoon1731 - Dec 5, 2012 at 1:09 AM

        since i assume ells is gone in a year anyway, yeah. i’d be sad, but they need a starter, and i love masterson, so i’d accept it.

      • paperlions - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:44 AM

        Masterson just isn’t very good. The RS traded him because they didn’t think he had the repertoire to be a starter. He’s been bad to horrible in 2 of his 3 season in Cleveland, and that was mostly facing AL Central lineups (who kind of suck). Bringing Masterson back would just be another move confirming they really have no idea what they are doing.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      The Indians are considering trading Choo because he has one year left on his deal and isn’t interested in an extension. Not sure they’d want Ellsbury when he’s in the same situation.

      Ellsbury for Choo would be interesting, though. The Indians might prefer Ellsbury for a year if they’re going to lose Choo anyway, and the Red Sox would have a better chance of retaining Choo than they would Ellsbury.

  9. proudlycanadian - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Dump Ellesbury and add Ross! Yes! I love it!

  10. xpensivewinos - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    So Theo, let me get this straight, yer sayin’ Ellsbury for Garza, huh?????

  11. jaybird22seven - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    This is not a bad line up, but nothing to be scared of. Especially in the American East. Pitching is so important in that division.

  12. mackie66 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Boston just traded several bad contracts to LA , now they want to make more bad contracts.

    • Cris E - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      Normally you have to trade baseball players, but developing players is hard. Now that they have found someone to trade bad contracts to they can start cranking those babies out by the yard!

  13. malvord13 - Dec 4, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    @kcrobert10 I don’t blame you for wanting to keep myers but don’t get tired of ppl talking about Myers. It’s not like we pulled that out of our a**es. Your gm said he would trade him, and in fact Lester for Myers trade was brought up. You guys need pitching and they royals already made it clear they will trade myers before anyone else on the team with value. So I know it would suck to lose myers, I feel ya. But don’t be surprised if the talks keep coming.

  14. malvord13 - Dec 4, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    @kcrobert10 I agree with you 100% but I’m a sox fan so I would want that trade.

  15. tfbuckfutter - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Re: The last paragraph…..

    It’s a good thing the majority of pitchers are left handed these days. Apparently the thinking in the Red Sox front office is “If we win 50% of our games against right handers, and 15% of games are against lefties and we stack the team with guys who crush left handed pitching so we win 100% of those games, we’ll have a .650 winning percentage! 105 wins!!!”

  16. randygnyc - Dec 5, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    I hear a straight up deal sending ellsbury to the Indians for ubaldo Jimenez could get done early tomorrow. I’m going to have to wait and see. Color me skeptical.

  17. kappy32 - Dec 5, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    He would be a perfect fit for the Mets & Citi Field, but who are they going to trade for him? Dickey? I don’t think so. A trade where JE & RAD are the centerpieces wouldn’t be bad for either team, but I wouldn’t trust the Mets to resign him after this season. Maybe if they can have a window to work out an extension then pull the trigger if a deal can be worked out, then I’d be a fan. Mets fans need to be realistic; we are NOT breaking the bank when we trade Dickey. Ellsbury is the type of player we could expect in return & it wouldn’t be a bad move.

  18. oms0004 - Dec 5, 2012 at 5:50 AM

    So far, most commenters are saying Jacoby could go for cheap… then why not the Astros. They have everything to gain and nothing to lose. They can afford at least him. They aren’t paying anyone else.

    • paperlions - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      The Astros have nothing to gain by trading for him. They won’t compete next year and Ellsbury is 100% going to test the FA market….so they trade a prospect, finish with 60 wins, and then get a draft pick so that they have a prospect further from the majors than the guy they traded to get him….that’s a step backward.

  19. gpatrick15 - Dec 5, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    The Braves need another outfielder. I wonder if Ellsbury or Upton would mind playing left field full time, with the other playing center and Heyward in right. It would definitely make their lineup more formidable. Hopefully Wren’s doing his due diligence on this!

  20. dasher521 - Dec 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Psst, Ruben, you listening? One year, the last shot with the window open?

  21. soxfan1966 - Dec 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    This would make sense. Trade Ellsbury while they can still get something for him. Might be a better return than what they’d get under the new CBA. And Ross wouldn’t be terrible to have back.

    Again, at least they wouldn’t be stuck with some of the albatross contracts that other AL East teams like NY and TOR have gotten themselves into.

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