The market for free-agent centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is heating up with multiple teams showing considerable interest writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Aside from the Boston Red Sox, who are more than interested in retaining Ellsbury, the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs are among the other clubs who Heyman states as interested. The baseball insider also notes that the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers could become potential players in the Ellsbury sweepstakes if this saga drags on into the winter.
Earlier today it was learnt that Ellsbury’s agent has indicated the price tag for his client’s service is set at 7-years and $142 MM. In other words, if Carl Crawford was deemed worthy of that money three years ago, so too is Jacoby Ellsbury in this day and age.
It’s no surprise that the Yankees are mentioned as a possible suitor for Ellsbury given the need to remake their outfield, especially now that Curtis Granderson is likely to sign elsewhere. Both Carlos Beltran and Shin-So0 Choo were recently described as the Yankees top two priorities with Ellsbury slightly behind and the Bombers have made it known that they will spend the money available to help bolster their roster.
If in fact the Yankees meet the demands of Ellsbury and Boras, the only sticking point could be their pride and having to surrender their first round draft pick to the rival Red Sox. Granted the way the Yankees have spent money in the past and their willingness to compete this year on the free-agent market, it’s hard to fathom that one draft pick would prevent them from robbing their deepest rival of a talented player like Ellsbury.
The Nationals are serious about contending for a World Series title in the near future and signing Ellsbury or another high profiled free-agent outfielder would further cement their stance. It’s interesting to note their interest given Jayson Werth was reeled in for 7-years at $126 million three years ago and it took until this year to prove he’s worth it.
Theo Esptein is said to be lying in the weeds, waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the open market and snag a high prized free-agent. The Cubs blue print has 2015 as the year they’re expected to compete but that might not make Epstein hesitate from offering someone like Ellsbury a multi-year deal to ensure he’s part of the cornerstone for future success.
If it becomes a bidding war for the Red Sox all-star centerfielder, one would expect Boston to stand pat on their offer, providing it’s less than the asking price and be content to take the draft pick as compensation. Then again, we’ve learnt that when it comes to free-agents and the Boston Red Sox that anything is possible. Albeit, that was apt to being more accurate when Theo Epstein was still in charge and not the methodical Ben Cherington.