I'm writing this piece as a follow up to a recent article I've written entitled Is Jacoby Ellsbury Slugging His Way out of a Boston Red Sox Uniform?
Scott Boras stated he didn't expect to discuss a new contract during the season for his client Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury, who's in his first year of arbitration is earning a reported $2.4 million in 2011. The Red Sox control the rights to Ellsbury until at least 2013 at which time he could become a free agent.
The Red Sox have exclusive rights to negotiate a deal with Ellsbury at any time between now and the end of the 2013 season. However, that's unlikely with super agent Scott Boras representing him. Boras, who typically advises his clients to play out their options and hit the free agent market in search of top dollar. Top dollar is what he expects for Ellsbury's services.
Ellsbury, who's having the best year of his young career and is a legitimate MVP candidate, currently leads all of major league baseball in the lead off spot with hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, runs scored, slugging and OPS (with players that have at least 400 at-bats) and has the second highest average at .320 with 30 stolen bases.
This all equates to Ellsbury being a huge threat when batting in the lead off position. The Red Sox have not had this much production in that position since Johnny Damon in 2004. Damon hit .308 with 20 HR, 91 RBI, 121 runs scored a .385 OBP and .480 SLG with 18 stolen bases. And we all know what happened in the post-season that year.
With Carl Crawford under achieving and grossly overpaid, the Red Sox organization may make the decision to trade Crawford before 2013 as they have with past experiments such as Edgar Renteria and Julio Lugo just to name a few.
Some say Ellsbury is still bitter about the way he was treated last year and that Boston should not expect a hometown discount if he were to stick around.
The 27 year old Ellsbury is three years a junior to Crawford who signed a 7-year $142 million deal this offseason that would keep him in Boston until the age of 37.
Ellsbury, who's been clutch all season helped in salvaging the only win the Red Sox had over the Rays earlier in the week by hitting a three run homer in game one of a three game series. Had it not been for Ellsbury, the Sox would have been swept at home. As it stands, the Red Sox have gone 4-5 over their last nine games.
Should the Red Sox run the risk of letting Ellsbury hit the free agent market only to have a possible repeat of what happened to Johnny Damon and the New York Yankees?
Damon went on to have four very productive seasons with the Yankees averaging 103 runs scored, 19 HR, 74 RBI, 23 stolen bases with a .285 average, .363 OBP and a .458 SLG.
Does it not make sense for the Red Sox to try and negotiate a deal that would secure Ellsbury's play in Boston for the foreseeable future?