The Courtship of Ellsbury
by Chris Karlson on Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been an integral part of the Boston ball-club since 2007, when the Sox won their second World Series in four years. He is one of the last holdouts from that season, with Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, and, of course, David Ortiz. With his rookie contract about to expire, rumors about Ellsbury’s future with the Boston Red Sox began circulating during this October’s postseason run. As of today, Ellsbury’s future is uncertain, but both the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees have expressed interest in Ellsbury. He is unlikely to follow Johnny Damon’s footsteps and head down to the Big Apple, but Jacoby’s departure to the Mariners is much more probable, since Ellsbury is looking for about $20 million per year for six or seven years. The Sox could easily afford that, but they may prefer the reliable and much cheaper center fielder in Jackie Bradley Jr. of the PawSox after recent debacles with overpaid players.
The Mariners have had their eye on Ellsbury for a while, and, with one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball, they have room in their budget to afford him. The Mariners might appeal to Ellsbury for reasons other than money, as he was born in Madras, Oregon, a town only a few hours from Seattle. Teams with the budget to afford Ellsbury, most notably the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, will also likely make an effort to acquire the star outfielder. However, Ellsbury might remain a part of the 2014 Red Sox roster. According to ESPN analyst Jerry Crasnick, Seattle’s interest in Ellsbury may be overblown, as they are more interested in the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran and the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. Ellsbury also has sentimental reasons for staying, having spent his entire baseball career with the Red Sox since his time on the Single-A Lowell Spinners in 2005. While his time with the Red Sox has had its low points, such as his injuries in 2010 and 2012 and the team’s collapse in September 2011- Ellsbury has succeeded in Boston, with four playoff appearances and two World Series titles. He won both a Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger award in 2011 and famously stole home against the Yankees in 2009. As the off-season continues, Red Sox fans are hopeful that Ellsbury will re-sign with the Sox so they can be treated to a little more magic from the speedy center fielder.
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