Discussion: Jacoby Ellsbury

Alex Speier of WEEI confirms today what we heard reported last week by CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty: neither Jacoby Ellsbury or his agent, Scott Boras, have discussed a long-term extension for the outfielder with the Boston Red Sox.

Speier points out that other core Red Sox players, such as Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia, had about the same amount of Major League service time as Ellsbury when they signed extensions that bought out their arbitration-eligible seasons and their first year of free-agent eligibility. Ellsbury, however, says that there have been no conversations on the subject to date:

“I’m going to play this year. When the Red Sox talk with my agent, I guess that’s when that ball starts rolling…. I think it’s fine [that there have been no long-term talks]. I’d like to get one more year under my belt, but if they come with something tomorrow, then it’s a totally different ballgame."

Ellsbury is still only 26, and it's possible we haven't yet seen his ceiling. If he develops double-digit home run power and increases his 2009 OBP of .355, he could potentially make himself even more valuable in a year than he is right now. On the other hand, he's coming off a season in which he hit .300+ and stole 70 bases, two numbers it will be a challenge to improve upon in 2010.

So with Ellsbury's arbitration years approaching, who should be exercising more patience when it comes to negotiating a possible long-term contract for the speedster: Boras and Ellsbury, or the Red Sox? And if you're a Sox fan, what sort of price would you feel comfortable with?


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66 Comments on "Discussion: Jacoby Ellsbury"


mrtacobell
5 years 5 months ago

5/$80MM, nothing less, he’s THAT good.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 5 months ago

That’s just plain excessive beyond the realm of any rational argument. Tell me who else (other than a CY-eligible starting pitcher) with only 3 years of service time ever got such a contract? In arbitration, Ells is guaranteed to get $3MM next season, $5-7MM for his 5th year and $9-10MM for his 6th year. No one can even consider giving him more than $19MM for 3 years. Your argument boils down to Ells deserving $30.5MM per year for each of his first two FA years. That’s nonsensical. Sorry.

TVGugs
5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury will be overpaid (relative to other players with similar service time) if he goes to arbitration, because the arbiters look at traditional stats like AVG and SB more than the holes in his game such as defense and plate discipline.

I think the Sox would be wise to offer him an extension that covers his arb years, but not one that locks him up much longer than that. If he can’t improve on his dreadful 2009 defense, he won’t have what it takes to stick around in Boston for the long haul.

NomarGarciaparra
5 years 5 months ago

Wait what? His defense is dreadful?

Steve_in_MA
5 years 5 months ago

I think the numbers for an Ells extension depend on his first half performance this season. We’re trying to look 4 years out, and defensively, we need more experience with him. If he can generate a + UZR/150 in left and at least maintain his offensive numbers, then maybe something like 4 years, $24MM (paid 3, 5, 7 and 9), might make sense. That scenario somewhat mimicks Carl Crawford’s salary progression over the same period of his career. Any better suggestions?

cjc07
5 years 5 months ago

I’ve seen Ellsbury play pretty much every game, so the whole he needs to improve his UZR is complete crap. His arm is nothing special, true. But he is one of the top center fielders when it comes to defense

Steve_in_MA
5 years 5 months ago

Well, I watched almost every game as well. He needs to improve his approach to the ball. I think we agree that he got to most everything. Where we probably disagree is that he turned some balls that could have been relatively routine into adventures or spectacular recoveries. He got bad jumps on many balls and made up for it with his speed. I think he got a raw deal on his UZR/150 score of -18. Still, he had 5 errors. There is obviously a fair amount of room for improvement.

bobmac
5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury has all the leverage.

Just_MLB
5 years 5 months ago

not if he stays in LF…

DarthVader87
5 years 5 months ago

I really don’t know what to say I would be comfortable with. I’m sure he’ll make more than I would want him to, considering Boras is his client. However, at the same time. If he does gain the capability to hit HRs like Theo has said he will be able to do eventually, it might take the sting out of it. He’ll probably end up making about 5-7mil more than Pedroia a year.

Ferrariman
5 years 5 months ago

i think you meant to say boras is his AGENT lol.

DarthVader87
5 years 5 months ago

Indeed I did. Rofl.

johnsilver
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t see any kind of LT deal with ellsbury in Boston, or at least as long as Epstein/Luchino and Henry are running the club. Schilling said it perfectly after Ells 1st season and he dumped his original agent and went with Boras “As pure as snow and why he did this”. I just can’t see the Boston FO even trying to work anything out with Boras LT wise. Go year to year and either move him before he reaches FA, or pay market value afterward. Chasing futility to do anything else.

5 years 5 months ago

I think the Sox view Ellsbury as expendable with the depth and quality of the outfield prospects they now have. Westmoreland, Kalish, Reddick, and Reymond Fuentes, who seems to bring much of the same tools as Ellsbury has to the game. I expect the Sox to go year to year with Ellsbury and move him if two of those prospects can stick in Boston.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 5 months ago

I think they more realized when Ellsbury signed on with Boras that they were expendable. I like Ellsbury and I think he’s developing into a damn good leadoff hitter but the fact is baseball is a business.

philpbarnes
5 years 5 months ago

They also have Che-Hsuan Lin, who is a little bit under the radar with all the attention that the others are getting right now.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
5 years 5 months ago

Lin probably has the most advanced glove of Red Sox outfield prospects but I seriously doubt his bat will allow him to be much more than a future 4th outfielder.

usg
5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury will be gone via trade or free agency. No way do I see him sticking around past the next 3 years. His main value comes so far in stolen bases, which the Red Sox clearly don’t think are very important given how much they de-emphasize them with their pitching staff. Meanwhile, the system is stocked full of outfielders like Kalish, Reddick, Westmoreland, Fuentes, and Lin, to say nothing of what could come from guys like Brandon Jacobs, Seth Schwindenhammer, and Keury De La Cruz. Lin and Fuentes are both likely to end up as top-notch defensive center fielders, with Lin having an arm to go with his huge range. Lin also has great plate discipline and has been putting up acceptable numbers despite being moved ahead at a perhaps too-rapid pace. Fuentes has the Carlos Beltran bloodline and was drafted partly on the belief by Sox scouts that he’s got more power potential than most others thought.

Jacoby is going to be overpaid by half thanks to the occasional GM ignorant to defensive stats (though Theo says that CARMINE has Ellsbury as at least an average CF, he’ll get credit for being elite elsewhere) and awed by the steals. Theo hopefully won’t bite.

aquanarc6
5 years 5 months ago

CARMINE is a software program, it’s not the name of any of their proprietary stats.

cerf
5 years 5 months ago

He is a great player. His drive to play the game is similar to the center of strenght we see in Pedroia. I feel his bat power may come at the cost of some speed, which could ultimately slow down defensive development. I think both sides are comfortable seeing how he will progress. Right now it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to reach and say he’s going to be great, but it may still be a reach. Another year will probably allow the Sox to guage how much of a reach it is… if it seems more like a reality, this is one player the Sox will not mind paying. They may be sacraficing 10mil to potentially save 25mil.

cerf
5 years 5 months ago

He is a great player. His drive to play the game is similar to the center of strenght we see in Pedroia. I feel his bat power may come at the cost of some speed, which could ultimately slow down defensive development. I think both sides are comfortable seeing how he will progress. Right now it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to reach and say he’s going to be great, but it may still be a reach. Another year will probably allow the Sox to guage how much of a reach it is… if it seems more like a reality, this is one player the Sox will not mind paying. They may be sacraficing 10mil to potentially save 25mil.

phillysox
5 years 5 months ago

He is a great player. His drive to play the game is similar to the center of strenght we see in Pedroia. I feel his bat power may come at the cost of some speed, which could ultimately slow down defensive development. I think both sides are comfortable seeing how he will progress. Right now it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to reach and say he’s going to be great, but it may still be a reach. Another year will probably allow the Sox to guage how much of a reach it is… if it seems more like a reality, this is one player the Sox will not mind paying. They may be sacraficing 10mil to potentially save 25mil.

cerf
5 years 5 months ago

He is a great player. His drive to play the game is similar to the center of strenght we see in Pedroia. I feel his bat power may come at the cost of some speed, which could ultimately slow down defensive development. I think both sides are comfortable seeing how he will progress. Right now it doesn’t feel uncomfortable to reach and say he’s going to be great, but it may still be a reach. Another year will probably allow the Sox to guage how much of a reach it is… if it seems more like a reality, this is one player the Sox will not mind paying. They may be sacraficing 10mil to potentially save 25mil.

5 years 5 months ago

What more could the Sox ask for in a leadoff/center fielder? (as soon as Cameron leaves, he’s moving right back over there) High average, high OBP, and swiping bags like a thief. 5 years/40-50 million? They would really only move in a huge impact move (Gonzalez etc.). With the Lugo experiment finally over, they have a speedy threat at the top of the order who is a fan favorite.

littlerivers
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t see Ellsbury & the Red Sox working out an extension. He’ll go to free agency and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get over $10mil/yr. Boras will talk up his speed & range in the outfield, not to mention his ability to cause chaos on the basepaths, and if his power numbers improve, his price tag will only increase. If the Sox don’t overpay for him, someone else will.

ReverendBlack
5 years 5 months ago

His range can’t really be talked up much. Even by Boras.

BentoBox
5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury is fast and all but
– his defense is still a question mark
– can he develop some power ?
– Red Sox has a lot of OF prospects (Westy, Kalish, Reddick, Fuentes, Lin)
It doesn’t help that Boras is his client.

Rich_in_NJ
5 years 5 months ago

I think Ellsbury will likely be traded this season in a package for another big offensive player.

care_bear
5 years 5 months ago

I agree. While I think that Ellsbury is going to become a desired leadoff hitter, I think Jeremy Hermida is going to play a big role in the Sox future OF plans. I think Hermida will have success in a limited role this year, with cameron getting old and needing a rest every couple days. Ells will get moved in a package for a big bat somewhere near the deadline.

5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury just like all the other money grubbing owners and players.. I’d rather watch a high school ball game as to waste my hard earned money on MLB.

awp1990
5 years 5 months ago

so then what are you doing reading a MLB website? seems a bit odd. find somebody else to waste your time on then.

vtadave
5 years 5 months ago

A little grumpy today eh Freddie?

gosawx
5 years 5 months ago

So why, then, are you wasting your precious time on a website that covers nothing but MLB?

5 years 5 months ago

Because I love the game, just hate the way money has ruined the game. Never in the post did I say I would not follow mlb baseball. I merely stated I would rather go watch a high school game as waste my money on an MLB game. Don’t read things into a post that are not there.

gosawx
5 years 5 months ago

Fair enough, I just got the impression that you didn’t like MLB in general.

Just_MLB
5 years 5 months ago

dont get mad at the players…mlb can be full of guys making 500K a year and prices still would be in the same range they are in now…what we need is transparency…the pirate/marlin/royals fans would go apeshit if they found out the owners of their teams are making money hand over fist and presenting a half-ass product

5 years 5 months ago

Ellsbury hasn’t been offered a long term contract because the Red Sox see too many holes in his game. They’ll hang onto him this year. Then, next offseason, they’ll sign Carl Crawford and trade Ellsbury for a need at another position. Crawford is a match for Ellsbury’s speed. However, Carl brings more power, better plate discipline and a better glove. Sure, Crawford will require a contract of around 6 years / $90 million (before you say more, think about what Holliday got this year). But, that’s not that much more than Boras will be demanding for Ellsbury.

Ferrariman
5 years 5 months ago

That made no sense.

Sign a speedy overrated OF to replace a cost controlled speedy overrated OFer.

Besides, the RS outfield prospects are their strong point with reddick, kalish, westmoreland, etc. It wouldn’t make much sense to put yourself on the hook for 80+mil when you can accomplish the same for much much less.

Steve_in_MA
5 years 5 months ago

I have to respectfully disagree. Neither Crawford or Ellsbury are overrated. Crawford is downright awesome in every possible way. Ellsbury is underrated defensively, in that his UZR/150 looks more at his approach to the ball than the net result. The kid caught practically everything hit his way. He took some bad approaches though. Both are fantastic players. I would like Ells as the Sox leadoff hitter and CF for the next 4 years.

bjsguess
5 years 5 months ago

If he can keep up his 2009 year Ellsbury will be very highly compensated. Those SB’s look pretty impressive.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 5 months ago

It is kind of amusing how Ellsbury can go from an UZR/150 of 16.8 in 2008 to -18.3 in 2009. One would have expected some regression, but that’s just ridiculous. Him being in LF this season should help him out, but LFers aren’t valued as much as CFers.

His OBP should be ok, and you should expect some regression in SB’s, but around 50-55 should be accomplished barring injury.

4 years, $32-35 million?

Zack23
5 years 5 months ago

“It is kind of amusing how Ellsbury can go from an UZR/150 of 16.8 in 2008 to -18.3 in 2009″

It’s amusing if you dont undertsand how it works.

2008
CF: 3.0 UZR in 545 innings
LF: 9.3 UZR in 346 innings

2009
CF: -18.6 UZR in 1302 innings

You cant use UZR/150 numbers for small sample sizes. And you cant put LF/CF numbers next to one another like they mean the same thingeither.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 5 months ago

It’s amusing if you dont undertsand how it works.

I know plenty well how it works. You claim I don’t, but then you don’t even bother to educate me. Funny. Fact of the matter is Ellsbury had an awful UZR in 2009, and I don’t care how much of a dropoff his UZR is, -18.6 is embarassing. I knew Ellsbury played both CF and LF in 2008, I just didn’t bother to type the splits.

You wrote: And you cant put LF/CF numbers next to one another like they mean the same thingeither.
I wrote: Him being in LF this season should help him out, but LFers aren’t valued as much as CFers.

Thanks for repeating me.

You cant use UZR/150 numbers for small sample sizes.

Then why did you bother to tell me them?

Next!

Zack23
5 years 5 months ago

“I know plenty well how it works”
“You cant use UZR/150 numbers for small sample sizes.
Then why did you bother to tell me them?”

Ok, UZR is NOT the same thing as UZR/150. So apparently you dont know plenty how it works.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 5 months ago

Clearly UZR and UZR/150 are not the same thing. Considering the middle line was your own, I have no idea what the point to this comment is?

As for your comment below, I explained myself.

The point of the Thanks for repeating me comment was you were explaining how CF has more valuable defense compared to LF, when I clearly stated that in but LFers aren’t valued as much as CFers.

Comparing LF defense to CF defense is laughable, hence I would never do it. But me being lazy and combining his entire UZR/150 doesn’t contradict the last sentence, because, well, I’m lazy.

UZR/150 is a bit of a useless stat anyways since the season is 162 games. I stick to exO and RF/9.

Zack23
5 years 5 months ago

“Thanks for repeating me.”

I didnt repeat you, I corrected you. You gave “UZR/150 of 16.8″ for 2008 which was his total OF number, and you put that up against -18.6 for 2009 in which he played only CF.