Both sides have tried hard, but things haven’t quite worked out the way that anybody would have hoped for. Both may be looking for a clean slate next season.
The 29-year-old Ellsbury will be entering his walk season in 2013 and the Red Sox will likely have these three options for their center fielder.
1. Let Ellsbury play out the season and hope that he stays healthy and replicates his 2011 season where he was the runner-up as the American League MVP. Take the draft pick compensation.
2. Sign Ellsbury to an extension, keeping him with the team.
3. Trade Ellsbury for players that can improve the Red Sox for 2013 and beyond.
I can see the Red Sox consider option No. 1, hoping Ellsbury will put up the best season of career going into free agency. Let Ellsbury have a season similar to 2011, try to get the team back into the playoffs and then take the draft pick compensation when he leaves.
As far as option No. 2, I simply don’t believe either side would be interested in doing an extension at this point. The Red Sox have been burned by large contracts recently, and Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras will likely be seeking a contract in excess of $100 million.
That leaves us with option No. 3—and this is the option that I think the Red Sox will select in dealing with Ellsbury. I believe the Red Sox will shop Ellsbury for the best package of players available.
Player statistics in this slideshow are from www.baseball-reference.com.