August 25, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) hits a double during the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury’s Last Hurrah?


For Red Sox Nation, it seems a foregone conclusion that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury will be playing out his last season as a member of the Red Sox in 2013.   The evidence to support this idea is certainly abundant.

September 17, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) at bat against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

His agent is Scott Boras, who always takes his free agent clients to the highest bidder. The Red Sox seem to be taking a wait and see approach with Ellsbury because of his injury history and are grooming Jackie Bradley, Jr. as his eventual replacement.  And we all know the team has been extremely wary about handing out long term contracts lately.

But I actually see a way that Ellsbury could be re-signed to a long term deal if everything falls into place perfectly for the Red Sox.  It’s a long shot, but not impossible.

Almost everyone expects Ellsbury to bounce back from an injury plagued 2012 season and put up numbers similar to his MVP-like performance of 2011 because he is in a contract year.  That scenario may very well play itself out and if it does, he probably is gone. But what if it doesn’t?

What if Ellsbury has just an above average year in 2013?  Combined with his long history of injuries, it could depress his market value enough to give the Sox a window that allows them to offer him a long term contract at a reasonable rate.

Add those factors to the idea that Boras can tend to sometimes price his clients out of the market (see Michael Bourn and Ryan Madson) and it’s not that farfetched a scenario.

The Red Sox have to spend the money they recouped in the Dodger trade from last season somewhere.  Like it or not, Ellsbury is one of the most popular players in Boston.  If Sox management has the chance to lock him up for what they feel is a reasonable deal you’d have to think they’d be all over that.  It would allow them to keep another young, marquee position player to build around with Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks.  As fans we should never underestimate the power of marketing!

So let’s allow the season to play out before we all decide that we’ve definitely seen Ellsbury’s final days in a Red Sox uniform.  He might just be sticking around a bit longer.

For more on this story please see the link below to my web show where I further discuss this issue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s3PHHdjGwA

Tags: Boston Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury

  • stephenepeterson

    I hear the marketing argument. Just can’t see him getting signed to a long-term deal given his, as you say, injury history and depressed numbers that may force him back into the fold. If Jackie Bradley is ready, Ells may be gone in management’s mind as it is.

    • John Fahrer

      Same here. Even if he winds up with nowhere else to go, it’s likely both sides would prefer to only continue the relationship for just one additional season. Ells will want the megadeal and the Sox will want to turn the page with Bradley.

      Even if Bradley isn’t ready by 2014, they’ll still have Victorino who can lead off and play center.