Ellsbury is entering the final year of his current contract, as he’s set to make $9 million in 2013. At the end of the year, if he’s unable to reach an agreement on an extension with the Red Sox, he would hit the free agent market.
For his part, Ellsbury has said that he hopes to remain with the Red Sox long-term. However, negotiations have been tricky considering his inconsistent level of production in recent years and the fact that he’s represented by Scott Boras.
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino told Speier that Boston would like to retain their center fielder and leadoff hitter if possible. In order to lock up Ellsbury, the Red Sox could pursue in-season negotiations, or they could even get the ball rolling this spring.
“Would we like to have him here? Yes. Do I think there will be some negotiations that will take place during the course of the year, perhaps sooner? Possibly. We wouldn’t rule anything out,” said Lucchino. “But we’d very much like to have him here, like to have him be part of a core Red Sox team, as Ben Cherington likes to say, be part of the next great Red Sox team. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to have too much of a discussion about a negotiation process right now and in this forum.”
After his impressive 2011 campaign (.321/.376/.552) which garnered AL MVP consideration, Ellsbury crashed back down to earth in 2012 (.271/.313/.370). This is thought to be attributed, at least in part, to injury.
In any case, it appears that the Red Sox and Ellsbury – a 29-year-old with a career batting line of .297/.349/.442 – will begin extension discussions sooner than later.
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