He leads into the piece assuming the Red Sox and Ellsbury won’t be able to work out a long-term deal this offseason, based mostly on the fact that Ells is a year away from free agency and his agent, Scott Boras, “owns a healthy track record of taking his clients to free agency to maximize their financial opportunities,” writes Bowden.
In Bowden’s eyes, the Sox have three choices:
1. Settle with Ellsbury on a one-year deal.
2. Take Ellsbury to arbitration, where he will make about $9.5 million on a one-year contract.
3. Trade Ellsbury.
It should be noted that besides his breakout 2011 season, Ellsbury has been limited by injuries. He was limited to 74 games this season by a shoulder injury and missed all but 18 games in 2010 with rib injuries. Following a 32-homer outburst in 2011, he had just 4 homers in 2012 (albeit in just under half a season).
In the piece, Bowden suggests seven deals that could be possible for the Red Sox on Ellsbury, with the caveat that none appear likely. Bowden writes:
“Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington must identify the teams that need a center fielder, would be willing to trade for a ‘rental’ player and could afford to add a $9.5 million player to its payroll.
“Because Ellsbury will be a one-year rental, Cherington probably knows he won’t get equal return. However, he will start with a high asking price -- in some cases unreasonable -- and negotiate downward. And the Red Sox could have another shot at Ellsbury after the 2013 season since Boras will make certain he reaches the free agent market.”
Your turn: What’s your take on how the Red Sox should handle the Ellsbury situation this offseason. Vote in the poll above (we’re assuming the sides won’t be able to hammer out a long-term contract so we’re not including that option) and leave your thoughts in the comments section.