The Red Sox are a better team with Jacoby Ellsbury than without him. As we’re constantly reminded, however, baseball is a business, and re-signing Ellsbury could cost the Sox some big bucks.
Ellsbury is one of the most dynamic players in the game, and the Red Sox’ lineup is undoubtedly more potent with him hitting out of the leadoff spot. Ellsbury led the majors with 52 stolen bases in 2013, which marked the third time in his career that he eclipsed the 50-steal plateau.
The threat isn’t limited to the base paths, though. While creating havoc on the bases is Ellsbury’s bread and butter, the 30-year-old has shown an ability throughout his career to make an impact with his bat. This season was no different, as Ellsbury hit .298 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and a .355 on-base percentage.
It seems unlikely that Ellsbury will ever have another season like 2011, when he racked up 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .321 average. But he doesn’t need to demonstrate that type of power to leave his mark, especially considering how solid his defense has been in center field. Ellsbury was named a finalist for a Gold Glove this season.
We’ll have to see if the Red Sox are ready to make Ellsbury a franchise cornerstone, as that’s likely what it will take to keep him in Boston for the foreseeable future. But regardless of where Ellsbury lands, there’s absolutely some good years ahead of him.