Jacoby Ellsbury will likely be on the move this winter.
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.
Texas SS Elvis Andrus
This is a trade that I mentioned in a previous article about Carlos Gonzalez and one that makes sense for both teams.
The Rangers would do this to replace Josh Hamilton and because they have an in-house replacement for Andrus with Jurickson Profar.
The Red Sox would do this because Elvis Andrus would give Boston a young long-term solution at SS and as a leadoff hitter.
Jose Iglesias would become trade bait.
Martin Perez would be a valuable trade chip or an option for their rotation.
Could the Freak come to Fenway?
This would be fun.
The 2012 World Series was so dull that this question came up while I was online chatting during Games 3 and 4.
Ellsbury for Lincecum, who hangs up first?
Both players are close in age (Ellsbury is 29 and Lincecum is 28) and coming off of down years. Both players would be going into their walk season.
The Giants would do this because Angel Pagan is a free agent and Ellsbury would slot right into CF for San Francisco.
The Red Sox would do this banking on Lincecum facing a new league and rebounding from a poor 2012 season. The biggest drawback for the Red Sox is that Lincecum is scheduled to make $22 million next season.
Braves lefty Mike Minor
Jacoby Ellsbury to the Atlanta Braves for LHP Mike Minor, RHP Zeke Spruill and SS Tyler Pastornicky.
This is more trying to match teams with potential needs, and both of these teams have needs that the other team can fill.
The Red Sox would get the 24-year-old lefty in Mike Minor to put into their rotation, a young depth SS to put into competition for the starting position and a young minor league arm to continue to build depth with.
The Red Sox might be more interested in Tommy Hanson or Randall Delgado as the main piece of this deal.
Nationals lefty Ross Detwiler
The Nationals would make this move if they lose out on Michael Bourn and if they wanted to improve their outfield.
The Red Sox would probably start by asking for Jordan Zimmerman, but I can't see the Nationals doing that for one season of Ellsbury.
The Red Sox would put Detwiler into the rotation, reliever Tyler Clippard into the bullpen and OF Eury Perez could be in the mix for center field in 2013 for Boston.
Carlos Quentin would be a good fit in Fenway.
With the Dodgers seemingly having an unlimited budget to work with, the Padres might feel the need to increase their presence in southern California.
The 28-year-old Richard would go right into middle of the Red Sox rotation and Carlos Quentin would go right into the Red Sox outfield and hit in the middle of the order.
Andre Ethier would play with Dustin Pedroia.
This one is kind of late to the field. A new rumor (via Buster Olney of ESPN) floated that the Dodgers might be looking to move Ethier’s contract in order to pursue free-agent pitching.
Ethier attended Arizona State University with Dustin Pedroia and might be a good fit with Pedroia in Boston.
These teams have been trading partners recently and might be again this winter.
Ellsbury would fit into the Dodgers outfield, moving Matt Kemp to a corner slot.
The Red Sox would put Ethier into RF and bat him in the middle of the order. RHP Chris Withrow would give Boston another hard-throwing pitcher in the minors who can help in the next couple of years.
Tampa ace James Shields
You don’t normally see a huge trade from within the division.
The Rays need some additional offense and the Red Sox need pitching.
With the Rays depth in pitching and Shields scheduled to make $9 million in salary for 2013, he might be a little bit too expensive for the Rays.
This trade would benefit both teams; just not sure if either team would like to make the other stronger.