BOSTON (CBS) – What are the chances Jacoby Ellsbury is back with the Red Sox next season?
Sports Illustrated’s Joe Sheenan joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The Adam Jones Show on Tuesday night, and said the Red Sox will be major players to keep Ellsbury when he hits the free agent market this winter.
Jon Heyman said on the Hub airwaves earlier Tuesday the starting point for Ellsbury will likely be the 5-years, $75-million deal B.J. Upton signed with the Braves last winter. Sheenan said all Ellsbury needs to do to get that offer is hold up a picture of Upton striking out this season (which he’s done 120 times in 330 at-bats this season), and the speedy center fielder will likely command more.
While Ellsbury may be lacking in the power department since clubbing 32 homers in 2011, Sheehan says he brings so much more to the field with his speed and defense.
“He’s a tremendously valuable player, and 5 years, $75-million is probably the buy-in for a guy like that. It’s an incredibly soft market; after Robinson Cano, Ellsbury is probably the best free agent out there,” said Sheehan. “If you’re comfortable that he is going to play 140-150 games a year, you can definitely see yourself going to $17, $18 million a year for him.”
So what are the chances he’s back in Boston?
“They haven’t spent the entirety of the ‘Dodgers dividend’… I think they could hold on to him and stay well within budget,” said Sheehan. “With Jackie Bradley Jr. not having a huge season at Pawtucket, whereas a year ago you would think they would let him go, now I’m not sure they will. I think the Red Sox will be big players here.”
Also, who else could be players for Ellsbury in the offseason? And who are Sheehan’s MVP favorites?