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Red Sox won’t try to keep Jacoby Ellsbury from free agency

May 23, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Jacoby Ellsbury AP

As you might expect considering he hasn’t played well for two years and is an impending free agent the Red Sox won’t try to negotiate a long-term deal with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury before he hits the open market.

General manager Ben Cherington revealed that on WEEI radio in Boston, saying: “We agreed before the season that we would defer it until the end of the season.”

I’m very curious to see what type of market there is for Ellsbury, because he’s a Scott Boras client just two years removed from an MVP-caliber season at a premium position, but he’s also about to turn 30 and has hit just .262 with a .673 OPS in 120 games since last season. Two years ago he’d have been in line for a $100 million deal, but now … who knows.

  1. yahmule - May 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    He has plenty of time to ratchet up a nice salary drive. He’ll do fine in a weak free agent market. Ellsbury was never going to resign with Boston after they misdiagnosed his rib injury and then sat back silently while an ugly piece of porcelain like Kevin Youkilis questioned his toughness in the media.

    • Jack Marshall - May 23, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      The fact that Ellsbury does not heal as quickly and some and is as delicate as an elite foreign car is neither the fault of the Sox nor Youk. Nor Ellsbury’s either, but buyer beware. If he’s not in tip-top shape he stinks, and after 30, those moments when all is well will get fewer and fewer.

      They’d be nuts to sign him to a big contract, no matter how 2013 turns out.

      • yahmule - May 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Of course it’s not the Red Sox fault. Bruised ribs and broken ribs are practically the same thing. Why should trained medical personnel be expected to know the difference after multiple examinations?

  2. pisano - May 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Fine, but wait until the Yankees show interest, Boston will be all over him.

    • sabatimus - May 23, 2013 at 12:48 PM

      History has shown this to be precisely false. Johnny Damon? Kevin Youkilis? There have been so many recent examples of Sox players winding up on the Yankees that I can’t remember them all.

      • 18thstreet - May 23, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Pretty different scenarios. Damon has said that the Red Sox were never given a chance to match the Yankees’ last offer, and the Red Sox have said they would have matched it. The Sox were done with Youkilis, and correctly so. Middlebrooks is a better player than he is, and cheaper.

        I think Ellsbury’s gone from Boston because Jackie Bradley will replace him just fine. Bradley’s ETA, I think, was always 2014, and he can provide good on-base capability (with long at bats) and outstanding defense. They’re very similar players.

        It seems to me that what the Red Sox need to worry about — in 2014 and beyond — is finding some power, especially if Middlebrooks doesn’t pan out. Ellsbury is a really nice player. I was a big fan of his right from the start, because I have a soft spot for speedy, light-hitting outfielders. (I loved Coco Crisp, too). But the Red Sox have his replacement all set.

  3. randygnyc - May 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    He’d have been looking at Crawford money had he been able to stay healthy. Now he’ll get 8 million for 4 years, IMO.

    • baseballisboring - May 23, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Lmao

      • baseballisboring - May 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        oh, now I see your comment below

  4. icanspeel - May 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I’d guess if the season ended today he’d land a Michael Bourne type deal off previous merits. Still pretty risky if he doesn’t start to turn things around.

  5. chill1184 - May 23, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Someone will pay for the guy

  6. randygnyc - May 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    That didn’t come out right. 8 million per year for 4 years. $32 million total

    • sabatimus - May 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      If he continues to bat .249 and have a sub-.320 OBP, he might very well get what you first posted. Oh wait, no he won’t: Boras will be in full-effect.

    • ras1tafari - May 23, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      I think you’re low by half. More like $15-16 per year.

  7. randygnyc - May 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    What did Bourne get? I forget?

    • APBA Guy - May 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Randy-keep this handy in your bookmarks:

      http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/

      Invaluable

    • Caught Looking - May 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Jason got a four movie deal.

  8. xpensivewinos - May 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Well, they’re stuck with Victorino for two more years and with Bradley on the horizon and a quality player like Choo available (for probably less than what Boras will be stealing), I would be surprised if Ellsbury returns to Boston.

    • 18thstreet - May 23, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      I was opposed to the Victorino signing, but it’s working out great so far. At this moment, no one’s “stuck” with him.

      • Jack Marshall - May 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Agree. He’s a valuable player, great bunter, great instincts, intensity and fundamentals.

      • soxfan1966 - May 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        Must have been a slow news day because this seems pretty obvious. Given that Ellsbury is a Boras client, it’s almost a no-brainer that there will be no in-season negotiations since Boras encourages all his clients to test the free agency waters when the time comes.

        I’ve heard some talk about the front office thinking that Victorino would be a good stopgap if (when) Ellsbury left (which they appear to anticipate, although I personally believe they will make at least some attempt to re-sign him at a reasonable cost) and Bradley isn’t quite ready to take over.

        This appears to be why both Gomes and Victorino were signed to multi-year deals — if (when) Ellsbury leaves and Bradley isn’t quite ready to take over in CF, then Victorino will slide over into CF and someone like Gomes can take over in RF.

  9. ras1tafari - May 23, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    It depends on Lucchino/Werner and the Red Sox TV show. In the past, they have clearly indicated that the team wants “attractive” players. Ellsbury is pink-hat central. Who are the college girls going to swoon over if Ells goes away? Buchholz looks like a pedophile.

    Cherington will want to move on, but the brass will step in. You watch.

  10. paperlions - May 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    A speed guy who has hit well 1 year and 1 month, out of 5+ years, gets hurt often, missing > 1/2 of 2 of the last 3 years, and turns 30 in September.

    Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what happens….I sure as hell wouldn’t want my team to sign him to anything more than a 1 year deal….and only if the REALLY needed a CF.

  11. pellypell - May 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    He is going to drop Boras and sign with Roc Nation Sports Agency and a deal willl get done with the Yankees.

    • 18thstreet - May 23, 2013 at 7:59 PM

      And I say he’s going to get a tattoo and join the Marines.

  12. baseballisboring - May 23, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    I’d be shocked if Ellsbury came back, honestly. Jackie Bradley is one of our top prospects and he’ll obviously be cost-controlled for a while. I think that’s part of the reason for the Victorino signing, that if Bradley stalls in 2014 (his real ETA) they’ll have a guy who can cover center adequately without having to pay Ellsbury a ridiculous Boras price.

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