Jacoby Ellsbury might sign somewhere sooner rather than later.
According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, clubs are reporting that talks involving Ellsbury are “moving faster than expected.” It’s reportedly “not impossible” that a deal could be consummated at next week’s winter meetings.
Stark didn’t mention any teams by name, so, obviously, the report must be taken with a grain of salt. However, it’s still interesting, as things have seemingly been cool on the Ellsbury front so far this offseason, and the outfielder’s agent, Scott Boras, is typically patient in letting markets develop.
A number of teams have been connected to Ellsbury this winter, including Seattle, which is a hop, skip and a jump from his native Oregon. However, it appears that the Mariners, Rangers and Yankees, among others, have made other free agents a priority over Ellsbury. The Red Sox have been viewed as a long shot to re-sign the 30-year-old center fielder, although neither side has closed the door on continuing the relationship that began eight years ago when Boston drafted Ellsbury in the first round of the 2005 draft.
Ellsbury is coming off an excellent season with the Red Sox. He hit .298 with nine home runs, 53 RBIs and an MLB-best 52 stolen bases before then thriving in October as part of Boston’s World Series run. Ellsbury hit .344 (22-for-64) with a .408 on-base percentage in the Red Sox’ 16 playoff games.
There have, of course, been questions in the past about Ellsbury’s durability and how much power he’ll be able to provide in the future, but there’s no doubt that he’s a dynamic leadoff hitter. Boras is believed to be searching for a contract similar to Carl Crawford‘s seven-year, $142 million deal, though, so whichever team lands Ellsbury will likely need to open up the checkbook.