The Red Sox came to dread the monstrous contract they handed to Carl Crawford prior to the 2011 season. Now, Boston might be forced to dish out a similar deal if it wants to keep Jacoby Ellsbury in town.
Ellsbury’s agent, Scott Boras, is using Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million contract as a benchmark in discussions regarding his client, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. The report coincides with Boras’ previous insistence that Ellsbury actually offers more value on the free-agent market now than Crawford did when he signed his deal back in December 2010.
“Carl Crawford lives. And Jayson Werth signed for seven years [and $126 million] at age 32,” Boras reportedly said when discussing Ellsbury and his other top free-agent client, outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Boras’ argument regarding Ellsbury being more valuable now than Crawford was three years ago centers on Ellsbury being a center fielder who bats leadoff. Crawford was a left fielder who batted second despite a similar skill set. Boras also contests that the league is in a much better financial situation now, and that Ellsbury has shown an ability to thrive on the big stage.
Securing a deal close to Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million pact might not be easy, however. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick is hearing that the Mariners’ interest might be overblown, and one general manager told Heyman, “Crawford was better and more durable [at the time].”
Ellsbury hit .298 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and an MLB-leading 52 stolen bases in 2013. The 30-year-old also hit .344 (22-for-64) during the Red Sox’ World Series run.