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?


66 Responses to Discussion: Jacoby Ellsbury Leave a Reply

  1. mrtacobell 5 years ago

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

    • Steve_in_MA 5 years 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.

  2. TVGugs 5 years 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.

  3. Steve_in_MA 5 years 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 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 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.

  4. bobmac 5 years ago

    Ellsbury has all the leverage.

  5. DarthVader87 5 years 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.

  6. johnsilver 5 years 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.

  7. 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 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 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 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.

  8. usg 5 years 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 ago

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

  9. cerf 5 years 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.

  10. cerf 5 years 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.

  11. phillysox 5 years 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.

  12. cerf 5 years 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.

  13. 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.

  14. littlerivers 5 years 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 ago

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

  15. BentoBox 5 years 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.

  16. Rich_in_NJ 5 years ago

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

    • care_bear 5 years 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.

  17. 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 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 ago

      A little grumpy today eh Freddie?

    • gosawx 5 years ago

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

      • 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 ago

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

    • Just_MLB 5 years 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

  18. 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 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 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.

  19. bjsguess 5 years ago

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

  20. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years 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 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 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 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 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 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.

  21. gosawx 5 years ago

    I would be perfectly happy to pay him $8-10 million a year…he’s really improved in his ability to get on base, he can steal bags like a maniac, he can hit well for contact, possibly double digit home run power…and despite what overrated and incompetent defensive metrics will tell you, his defense is pretty good. I mean, I like sabrmetrics (for hitters, at least), but anybody who tells me Jacoby Ellsbury is a bad center fielder because of UZR hasn’t watched a lot of Red Sox games. Not many balls get past him.

  22. johnsilver 5 years ago

    I have a feeling that Papelbon’s FA in 2 season’s is one of the least things the Sox FO is worried about. Another of the things they do pretty good job of, is converting SP’s into relievers when they even have a slight feel that they could excel there and am pretty sure that they will have another bunch ready in a couple of years that will be MLB ready, not to mention, closers are not exactly the highest compensated FA’s on the market of late in case you have not noticed and that is assuming that young Mr. Bard does not have any problems and is not more than ready by the end of the 2012 season to take over as the closer.

    If Papelbon wants even close to what the Yankees are throwing away at Rivera, have a feeling Papelbon will be playing elsewhere, or waiting that winter an awful long time looking for a job.

  23. Guest 5 years ago

    Compared to other CF and LF’rs currently playing, below age 32, Ellsbury is not that good. He is a solid player, but I hardly view him even in the top 25. Yeah he stole a lot of bases, but I think we’d be hard pressed to see him replicate that number.

    I have to agree with others that the lack of discussion regarding an extension is likely a precursor to him being considered for a trade. If talks do move towards an extension, I think you’re more likely to see something such as $24mm over 3 or 4 years. That’s about it. People we need to get this notion out of our heads of the “worth” of some players. Someone said Crawford, $90mm over 6 years? No way. It’ll never happen. He is in the 4, perhaps 5 year range at $44mm to $52mm at the absolute most. The days of handing contracts north of $10mm per year is slowly coming back into perspective. Players are still going to get $200mm-$300mm contracts. Players like Puljos, Arod, Jeter, Mauer, even other’s like Tex, Fielder, and so on will. Manny Rameriz although now is starting to show that age more, he was worth every penny when the Sox had him. These are $20mm a year players. Game changers. A few of these players are legend to baseball, others are going to put up massive lifetime numbers. Ellsbury can steal, Crawford is a great outfielder. I say big deal at this point. Contracts like Bay and Holliday are not great contracts in my opinion. Holliday was a $13mm-$15mm at the most per year and Bay was a $8-$10mm per in my opinion.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      you talk about game changers then say holliday is only worth 15million? huh? go call up the colorado rockies and as how much he meant to them in their 2007 world series run. .340 avg 36 HR…if thats not a game changer i dont know what is. i agree he was overpaid, but only in terms of years..his AAV is just about perfect for what he brings to the table.

      in no way is bay only worth 10million. not in a world where you see other LFer’s like carlos lee making 16mil AAV.

  24. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Holliday was a good/solid player, no doubt on many rockies teams, but no team (other than St’ louis apparently) was willing to pay a huge amount, based on stats inflated from Coors field and big spending AL teams were not going to pay huge dollars for partial season inter league stats he had previously put up, nor his struggles in the AL with Oakland the 1st part of the 2009 season.

    Holliday and Boras got the best deal possible by far in St.Louis, much like A-Rod and NY a couple of seasons ago, getting the same team to bid against themselves and wind up paying tens of millions more for a player than it seems anyone else was willing to pay.

    • gosawx 5 years ago

      The Red Sox offered Holliday the same thing they offered Lackey…it might not be a huge amount of money compared to what he got, but $80 million is $80 million is $80 million…I’d say that’s a huge amount of money no matter who is making it.

  25. chowdah219 5 years ago

    We own this guy through 2013..thats 4 more solid years with him and a favorable salary as far as the Sox go..No use having the discussion now when its clearly a non issue for at lest 2-3 more years..Unless,like i said, a great deal presents us at the right time and with the right situation..Ells seems to be taking the paps approach to go Y2Y during his arb years ..With Boras as his agent and a farm full of solid OF prospects, dont be surprised to see Ells name (as it has bee already)mentioned a lot more in trade talks IMHO

  26. You are spot on with that. Good post.

  27. gosawx 5 years ago

    Papelbon said he wants to stay for a long time, he’d just prefer to do it on year-to-year contracts. If he continues to pitch as dominant as he has, whatever floats his boat.

  28. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    We will. Paps is done as a Sox come his FA year. By then, Bard will be very ready and still throwing over 100 MPH. Paps can sign elsewhere and I could give a crap where. Ells, on the other hand, is a Ichiro comparable, sans the arm. He could achieve HOF status, maybe, and we will keep him.

  29. gosawx 5 years ago

    You sure seem to ‘know’ a whole lot about what he plans on doing…I didn’t know someone so close to Jonathan Papelbon was an MLBTR commenter! Fact is buddy, you don’t know his fate any more than I do, so even if he does leave in 2 years, what’s the good in griping about it now? Shut up and enjoy watching him pitch while you can.

  30. Just_MLB 5 years ago

    loyalty was a one way street before free-agency came out…

  31. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    papelbon has something else coming to him if he thinks he will make anything over 9-10Mil. even then, he would be overpaid. i think he will get the same contract that k-rod got, or close to it but maybe with more years.

  32. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    Papelbon wanting to go year-by-year may very well hurt his chances of making money, because what if he flounders for a year, or for the rest of his career? Boston gets the better deal going year-by-year because of the obvious security.

    He’s worth $8-10 million right now, but not as an average over a course of many years.

    Maybe if Bard can become a decent closer, Papelbon will get packaged with Ellsbury for most Boston Red Socks fans wet dream: Adrian Gonzalez? Just a thought..

  33. gosawx 5 years ago

    Wait a minute…he has another thing coming if he wants $10 million a year…you could have an argument there considering he won’t throw more than 75 innings there…but then you bring up that K-Rod contract. So if Theo and the braintrust don’t think $10 million is a good amount for Papelbon, are they gonna “show him who’s boss” and give him an avg of $12 million a year?

  34. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    completely mixed up my closers.

    i meant jonathan broxton…i have no idea why i said k-rod.

  35. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    if papelbon was on the san diego padres, he would be the highest paid player..

    and they already have heath bell making literally half of what he is.

  36. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    True, but IF the Padres resigned Gonzalez, he’d be paid more per year than the rest of the team combined :/

    If the league told the Marlins to spend money and quit saving it, they maybe could tell the Padres, and even the Pirates to spend a little too.

    But point taken with Heath Bell.

  37. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    And if my grandma had balls, she’d be my grandfather. If is a huge leap. The Pads, with a $40-50MM salary cap, don’t want Ells or Paps. They want Kelly, Westmoreland, Kalish, Exposito, Buchholz, and maybe Reddick. If Iglesias wasn’t on an $8.2MM contract, they’d want him too. They are looking for low cost young-uns, not Arb and FA money pits.

  38. care_bear 5 years ago

    The thing is, Bard touches 100 and he maintains a fluid, consistent motion and delivery to home plate while hitting his spots. He has a plus breaking ball, and can throw 3 pitches consistently for strikes. He changes speeds well, with his breaking ball 15-20 mph slower than his fastball. The kid doesnt even look like hes trying. Papelbons motion is wild, and he looks like he is trying to throw the ball as hard as he can all the time. He cant throw his splitter or slider consistently for strikes, so hitters sit on fastballs. With a few more years, Bard has a much better chance of becoming a CONSISTENT closer, and is far more valuable to the Sox in my opinion.

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