Jacoby Ellsbury has been with the Boston Red Sox since he was called up in 2007 and made his impact felt, especially during that postseason when he batted .360. He essentially took the position away from Coco Crisp due largely to his elite speed and excellent defense and has been a fixture in the lineup ever since, other than those seasons where he was injured for most of the year. 2011 was an MVP type of season for him, and he is the only Red Sox player to be a member of the illustrious 30-30 club. He is going to be a free agent after the end of this season and what many Red Sox fans have been wondering is whether or not Ellsbury is going to stay in Boston or leave for the big contract.
There is no doubt that whether he stays with the Red Sox or signs somewhere else, he is definitely going to get paid. His agent is Scott Boras, who might be the most famous and feared agent in all of sports. He is always looking for top dollar for his clients and almost always has them testing the open market. There have been reports that Ellsbury will be looking for a $100 million contract or at the very least $75 million which is what B.J. Upton received from the Atlanta Braves. I don’t see Boston willing to go in the $100 million range for a number of reasons. They made the huge blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to get rid of some huge contracts and could be very cautious about signing another player to a long-term contract for so much money. Those contracts look great in the beginning when the player is performing well, but by the end there is often buyer’s remorse from the team as the player heads into the final years of a huge contract.
If Ellsbury really wanted to stay, he probably would have said something by now. More often than not, agents listen to their clients. Jason Varitek was a Boras client, and it was very clear that he wasn’t going to play in any place other than Boston. Jered Weaver was another client who wanted to stay with his team, the Los Angeles Angels, and Boras made it happen. Maybe this season has changed Ellsbury’s mind over the year, but I still think we would have heard something about him wanting to stay. The other reason that I don’t think Ellsbury will stay is because Boston has Jackie Bradley waiting in the wings. He isn’t as fast as Ellsbury but his defense is just as good, he has a better arm and he has an incredible ability to get on base. Boston may consider him an extremely affordable replacement. Ellsbury has been such a dynamic leadoff hitter over the years. and if he leaves it will be a significant loss.
I hope he doesn’t leave, but I don’t see Boston rolling out the dough to keep him.