Jacoby Ellsbury Could Be the Odd Man out of the Red Sox Outfield

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Jacoby Ellsbury Could Be the Odd Man out of the Red Sox Outfield
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Is Ellsbury on his way out of town?

With ESPN reporting the signing of OF Shane Victorino tonight, it gives the Boston Red Sox a ton of flexibility moving forward with their outfield.

One of the options might be to trade Jacoby Ellsbury for pitching, something that I tweeted out in the wake of the deal.

"Is a Ellsbury trade coming after this?" was what I sent out.

Victorino's contract seems too big on the surface and the only way Victorino's deal makes sense is if the Sox have a deal in mind for Ellsbury.

The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham reports that the Sox are open to trading Ellsbury and ESPN's Buster Olney has since tweeted out that other teams believe that the Sox have something lined up for Ellsbury.

The Sox still need to address their pitching staff in a major way heading into 2013. Obviously the clubhouse culture was a bigger issue than the team was willing to admit since Boston has been collecting good-character player after good-character player.

David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino all have similar reputations around baseball: good players, quality people, hard workers and good examples for younger players.

 

Ellsbury has been a good player for the Sox, but he has never quite lived up to the expectations that the team has had for him except for his near-MVP season in 2011.

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His injury history is something that might make the Red Sox pause before talking about an extension with him.

It is also a potential problem that the Sox might want to trade before the season starts. The Sox have had two different seasons derailed by bad Ellsbury injuries. The Sox struggled during both seasons to replace him and last season he didn't seem like the same guy when he returned.

They may have decided to cut their losses and move on.

Who could the Sox talk to? Seattle seems to be aggressively looking for offense and Ellsbury is from that area of the country. The Phillies are still looking for a center fielder. Texas may need to replace Josh Hamilton. The Diamondbacks might be involved in some three-way trades.

If Victorino is the bridge to Jackie Bradley Jr. for a season and then slides into a platoon with Jonny Gomes or another player, his signing and flexibility makes a lot more sense.

If the Sox are still looking to get Josh Hamilton on a short three-year or four-year deal, it makes sense as well. They don't need to trade Ellsbury, but they have options.

Having productive outfielders is a good problem to have, especially on short contracts.

The Red Sox might have a big splash in mind after all.

Statistics used from Baseball Reference.

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