May 14, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) on deck against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury's Early 2013 Falling Star Will Likely Impact His Leverage

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?

What should the Red Sox do with Jacoby Ellsbury?

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury

  • John Fahrer

    I say ride it out and see if somebody’s willing to give him the deal he wants. If not, maybe bring him back to a one year deal. Boras seems to like Boston as the destination for his clients if they need to re-up their value.

  • Harry Burnham

    I think the best course of action, is to keep him until the end of the year, make a qualifying offer, and then try to sign him again. Either, A) you end up with Ellsbury for ~$14 million, which is probably pennies compared to what he would have earned on the open market, B) you sign him to a lower value contract for some more time, or C) he walks, but Boston gets the draft picks.

    His star has faded enough that you probably arent going to get a first round type talent back in a trade, so i suppose the Red Sox have to weigh any offers against potentially having Ellsbury for another year, or getting a late first rounder.

  • Rick M

    I doubt the Sox have any intention of retaining his services even if the price drops significantly. Too many internal options seem to be on the way up.

    They will explore options as teams look to get that one key element in July and August that could get them into the playoffs. If the Sox happen to be in a good position I doubt they will move him unless someone really overpays or Ellsbury has found that magic again.

    I didn’t expect Ellsbury to repeat 2011 but I did expect to see 2008/09 again. Still early to say “no way” but it does not look promising.

  • Earl Nash

    Ells is motivated to improve to get the most $$$ from Sox or somebody. Wait it out until the end of the regular season and trade him to a team that is desperate for and offensive boost to make Post-season.