Jacoby Ellsbury is in the most precarious of positions. Boston’s once most promising franchise player is now in a sticky situation. In his contract year Ellsbury has stumbled out of the blocks, putting his bid for a long-term, big-money contract with Boston or another team willing to take a chance in jeopardy. His agent, Scott Boras, has to be wringing his hands. On this point I am gleeful. Boras is bad for baseball, period. Let’s get down to the numbers.
Ellsbury has been at the top of Boston’s lineup all season. As of last night’s 12-3 thrashing at the hands of the Cleveland Indians, Ells has a .249, .317, .338, .655 slash line. These are not the numbers John Farrell want from his leadoff man. For Ells, his OBP and slugging numbers are the most concerning.
Where is the 2011 AL MVP runner up? Where is the laser focused speedster who smacked 32 dingers, knocked in 103 and swiped 39 bases? Nowhere to be found.
On Wednesday night in Chicago Ellsbury had his first two-hit game since May 4. In the last 30 days his slash line has slumped to an anemic .219, .305, .254, .515. In short, Boston’s once rising star has started the year flat as a turd.
Stolen bases? Yes, he leads the team in stolen bases with 13 which, on paper, puts him on pace for about 50+. The majority of his stolen bases, however, came early in the season and he has since precipitously tailed off. After stealing nine bases through most of April, Ellsbury has stolen just 4 bases in the last month. You can’t steal bases if you’re not getting on base.
Ellsbury’s ability to get on and upset the defense is key to Boston’s success. If he can’t get on a major weapon is on the shelf. Many players have been dropped from the leadoff spot in an effort to shake things up, take some pressure off them and get them going. Farrell has to be thinking about that now.
What should Boston do with Ellsbury?