Numerous reports say that the Red Sox are trying to trade Jacoby Ellsbury
The two biggest concerns for the Boston Red Sox in 2012 were their severe lack of quality pitching and a clubhouse chemistry that could only be described as “uneasy” at best. Their first two signings of the 2012-13 off-season have filled the Red Sox second issue. Both Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino have been described as “good guys” and quality club-house leaders. They do nothing to fix the Boston Red Sox second problem. While many would say that the hiring of John Farrell is enough to help with the first issue (something I have refuted here) the fact that the Boston Red Sox have yet to sign a pitcher this off-season is struggling. One of the first pitching dominos, Dan Haren, fell yesterday signing a one year deal with the Washington Nationals which leaves only Zack Grienke and his anxiety issues left on the market. Unless the Boston Red Sox want to bring in someone who could only flame out in Boston in front of the brutal Boston media, the Boston Red Sox are left with only one option. Trade someone to get the pitching they covet.
The question then becomes “who to trade?” The recent signings of the Boston Red Sox as well as reports from both ESPN’s Buster Olney and Boston Globe Red Sox beat-writer Peter Abraham have indicated what the Red Sox intend to do. They are planning on trading center-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
It’s simple reasoning. Ellsbury doesn’t like Boston, he is only signed through the end of this upcoming season and he is a Scott Boras client. The chances that the Boston Red Sox can resign him to a multi-year deal at the end of the season are about the same chances I have at someday playing in the NBA. Read, not good. While Jacoby Ellsbury is the best player on the Boston Red Sox when he is healthy, he doesn’t fit into the long-term plans of this team since this team won’t be a contender for three years. While his trade value could be higher, they should still get what they can for him.
Who should the Red Sox target? There are a couple of options out there. First of all, there has been a trade rumor floating around has been the Philadelphia Phillies Cliff Lee. This doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Boston Red Sox for a number of reasons. While Lee is coming off one of his best seasons, he is thirty-three years old and he is owed twenty-five million dollars from now until 2016. That’s a lot of money for a quickly aging pitcher. That’s a no go in my eyes.
The Red Sox could also go younger and target someone like Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman. It could make sense for both teams. Zimmerman is one of the top young pitchers in baseball, but the Nationals are already paying some top pitchers, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez among them, and might not have the money to reach his future demands. The Nationals also have a need for another bat in their line-up and have a great relationship with Ellsbury’s agent Scott Boras. Two things would shut down this trade. One, the Nationals recently traded for Denard Span to play center-field for them and aren’t exactly in the market for a lead-off hitter. Secondly, Zimmerman might demand more than simply Ellsbury as he is younger and Ellsbury is not at the top of his trade value.
There are also trade partners with teams like the Atlanta Braves, the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers, but none of those teams have the ready to go pitching that they would trade and the Boston Red Sox would want to trade for Jacoby Ellsbury.
My guess is that Ellsbury is sent out of town for something sooner rather than later. All signs point to it and the Boston Red Sox have more pressing needs then to keep Ellsbury around in the line-up. The major issue is that the trade-partners might be tough to work. The Red Sox have already made numerous deals to acquire prospects for the future involving their established talent. Now, the Red Sox need to make a trade for someone established to help them perhaps sneak into October in 2013.