Theo Epstein told John Dennis and Dale Arnold that the Red Sox have attempted to work out a long-term deal with Jacoby Ellsbury before and still have interest in an extension for the center fielder. The GM explained on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show that he views Ellsbury as a core member of the organization (Rob Bradford has the highlights).
"I guess it's not a secret we sat down and tried in the past to do that, lock Jacoby up, and I hope we'll sit down in the future again and try to do it once more at the appropriate time," Epstein said. "He's somebody we've long believed in, we've long seen as a core young member of the organization that we would love to keep around."
Epstein spoke of organizational standards that have to be met,' which may be an allusion to Boston's policy of getting a team option on any extension. Agent Scott Boras doesn’t expect a deal during the season for Ellsbury, who is arbitration eligible for the second time this winter.
Ellsbury, 27, has rebounded in a big way after missing most of the 2010 season with ribcage injuries. He has 15 home runs, 28 stolen bases and a .316/.375/.509 line in 431 plate appearances. He'll earn a raise from his current $2.4MM salary next year and is under team control through 2013.