Thursday, February 21, 2013
Ellsbury's chance at big payday
By Jason A. Churchill
Jacoby Ellsbury will hit the free agent market following the 2013 season and while the team and player are saying the expected things -- Ellsbury would like to stay, team has interest in keeping him -- Ellsbury isn't likely to sign an extension during the season, based on the route agent Scott Boras generally steers his clients, which is toward the open market.
The Boston Red Sox, reports Peter Abraham via Twitter, will use Ellsbury in the leadoff spot, which may help him build his value. In 456 career games batting leadoff, Ellsbury has compiled a .291/.342/.430 triple-slash, and while he appears to produce wherever he's used, his approach may be most consistent if he stays in one spot.
Ellsbury's free-agent competition among centerfielders next offseason will include Curtis Granderson, and perhaps Coco Crisp, Chris Young and Franklin Gutierrez. The latter three each have club options for 2014, though none are a sure bets to have them exercised.
The lack of depth at the position, as well as the dearth in good leadoff hitters in baseball, should allow Ellsbury to cash in, provided he has a strong, healthy 2013.