Hot Stove Talk: Jacoby Ellsbury


Note: This is part of our Hot Stove Talk series, which profiles free agents and looks at possible trades the Texas Rangers could make this offseason.

Today's player: Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Rangers need help in the outfield, and Ellsbury is one of the bigger names available on the market. He certainly showed his toughness this postseason, dealing with a foot injury and a swollen hand that was bad enough that he got an MRI after the World Series. He can now rest it and should be ready to go for spring training, various reports suggest.

Ellsbury, 30, just completed his seventh season with the Red Sox. He hit .298 with nine homers and 53 RBIs in 134 games in 2013. The center fielder and left-handed hitter batted .344 in the playoffs with six RBIs in helping the Red Sox to the championship. In 38 career postseason games, Ellsbury is batting .344 with a .774 OPS.

Why he makes sense: The Rangers have Leonys Martin in center and Alex Rios in right field. They still need an outfielder and Ellsbury would give them someone who is a career .297 hitter and has shown power and production in the past, hitting 32 homers and driving in 105 RBIs when he was fully healthy in 2011. The fact that he played hurt and did what he could to get through the pain says a lot about him. He hit well in the ALDS and ALCS, but dropped off in the World Series.

Why he doesn't make sense: Ellsbury plays center field, and his agent, Scott Boras, is already sending signals that because of Ellsbury's track record and the fact that he plays center field, he's going to likely want more than the deal that Carl Crawford got from Boston in 2010. The Rangers have a center fielder in Martin, who comes a lot cheaper than Ellsbury, and they've got one more year with Rios in right.

Bottom line: If the Rangers' payroll stays close to the same as it did in 2013, the club isn't likely to sign more than one big-name free agent (if any). If that's the limit, I'd rather see Brian McCann in Texas than Ellsbury. I think the price will probably get too high for Ellsbury and this club has a center fielder.