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We already know that the Boston Red Sox contacted the Philadelphia Phillies regarding a trade of Jacoby Ellsbury for Cliff Lee.
At least, that is according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
The Red Sox have since been quiet on the Ellsbury trade front.
As Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports, trading Ellsbury is not part of the Boston's plans this winter. At least that is what general manager Ben Cherington is saying at this point:
That’s not our intent. We’re expecting Jacoby to have a really good year in 2013 and be a huge part of what we’re doing. You answer the phone and take the calls and listen to ideas. But our expectation is Jacoby will be here and be our center fielder.
With that in mind, there are other factors that weigh into a trade of Jacoby Ellsbury.
First, he is a client of mega-agent Scott Boras. In case you missed it, I previously wrote a piece detailing why Scott Boras is such a tremendous factor in these type of situations. Feel free to check it out.
Almost all of his clients go to free agency and ultimately take the highest contract offered. In only a small handful of cases will you see a player take less to stay with his current team.
By all indications, a player of Ellsbury's caliber will hit free agency instead of signing an extension with the Red Sox.
Believe it or not, the team can survive without him.
Waiting in the wings is the center fielder of the future; Jackie Bradley Jr.
As Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston reports, he is the next Ellsbury-type player in the organization. He should be ready to take over in center by 2014 with some action likely coming at the end of 2013.
Even before that takes place, the Red Sox just signed Shane Victorino to play right field, a position he's only played 139 times out of his 1,076 career games.
751 appearances have come in center field.
Victorino is an insurance policy for the team should Ellsbury walk and Bradley not be quite ready to take the reins in 2014.
There is more incentive to trade Ellsbury now as well.
If the Red Sox trade Ellsbury before the start of the regular season, whomever he is traded to would be afforded a draft pick if Ellsbury should sign elsewhere as a free agent after the 2013 season.
Once the season begins, that bargaining chip goes away and the only guaranteed value Ellsbury offers is a rental for the remainder of the season.
With that in mind, unless a deal could be worked out for a Cliff Lee-caliber pitcher, a deal for Ellsbury will likely not take place.
This Red Sox regime has shown restraint, and I don't think that would waiver for a poor trade of one of their biggest stars.