Has Jacoby Ellsbury Played Himself into a $100 Million-Plus Contract?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IISeptember 6, 2013

Jacoby Ellsbury is a threat on the basepaths for the Boston Red Sox.

But apparently, Ellsbury is also likened to an aircraft carrier by his agent, Scott Boras, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Ellsbury is a free agent after this season, and Boras is going to look for the best deal for his client.

Boras, in an interview with CBSSports.com, made clear what he thinks of the “mid-range” market strategy and where he thinks Ellsbury stands, saying, “Free agency is like the Navy. You can have a number of mid-range missiles, but they only work as long as you have the aircraft carrier to put them on.”

Batting .296 for the year with 88 runs scored, 51 stolen bases and a .775 OPS, Ellsbury is hitting at or above all of his career averages this year.

But has he played himself into a $100 million-plus contract?


Comparisons to Other Players

Boras doesn't believe a player like Carl Crawford belongs in the same conversation as Ellsbury. Both players will be compared the same because both use their speed to their advantage. Keep in mind the Red Sox gave Crawford a $142 million deal three years ago.

“Two things separate Ellsbury [from Crawford]. Carl Crawford was never proven as a leadoff hitter, and Carl Crawford is not a center fielder,'' Boras said. “They are two different animals. It's not a consideration because he's a corner outfielder. Just think if Carl Crawford could play center field.”

Boras went on to mention a few other differences between Ellsbury and Crawford.

“Carl Crawford never had success in Boston. And he never won a ring in Boston,'' Boras said. Plus, "Crawford never hit twenty home runs, and Jacoby hit 30," Boras added.

With that said, let's look at each players' numbers. To get a more accurate comparison, I used Crawford's first six years in which he played 816 total games and compared them to Ellsbury's career (711 games).

This should give a more accurate comparison considering Crawford never had a major injury up to that point. Otherwise, the numbers would be extremely skewed toward him.

When looking at the numbers, they look very similar, even with the slight difference in games played.

The one area that I didn't show where Ellsbury has a distinct advantage is in his fielding. During his career, he has only committed eight errors, while Crawford had 15 through the first six years. Both players have a Gold Glove. 


The Knocks on Ellsbury

There are two big knocks on Ellsbury. The first is the fact that his 2011 season where he hit .321 with 32 home runs and 105 RBI is something he had never done before.

In fact, since 2011, he has 77 total RBI. So, that one big power season was an exception rather than the rule.

The other big knock is his injury history. He only played in 74 games in 2012 due to a shoulder injury after sliding into second base. In 2010, he only played in 18 games due to multiple injuries to his ribs.

But Boras has an explanation for that in his interview with Heyman:

But while he's missed significant time in two seasons, Boras pointed out that his injuries were related to freak mishaps.

“He has the genetics, like Johnny Damon. He's a durable player,” Boras said. “The only [significant] injuries he's had are collision injuries. They were due to exterior forces.”

Freak mishaps or not, he's been injured on more than one occasion. That kind of injury history isn't something a team will take lightly when working on dollars in a contract.


Will He Get the Contract?

I don't think there's a question that Ellsbury will get the $100 million contract. However, I don't see him getting much more than what Crawford got.

The market could also determine the amount of his contract. Just because someone as good as you got a huge deal a few years ago doesn't mean you'll get the same deal or more.

It's all about what teams are willing to pay. Some will fork over the cash, while others will be more hesitant.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see what Boras works out for his client.