There’s a widespread belief that Jacoby Ellsbury will become too rich for the Red Sox’ blood. While perhaps true, that also means that Boston will be left with a huge hole in its outfield when the long-time leadoff hitter officially signs elsewhere.
If Ellsbury signs with another team, the Red Sox could insert Jackie Bradley Jr. into center field. The 23-year-old figures to have a bright future, and he made strides in 2013 despite struggling offensively for the bulk of his time in the majors. But the Red Sox could also explore the free-agent market, and according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, Chris Young is among those on Boston’s list of fallback center field options.
Young spent his 2013 season in Oakland after Arizona traded him away last offseason. Young spent his first seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, even earning a trip to the All-Star Game in 2010, but never really got things going in the right direction with the Athletics. The 30-year-old — who also played left field and right field with the Athletics — hit .200 in 107 games with 12 home runs, 40 RBIs and a .280 on-base percentage.
Young had a couple of down years at the end of his Arizona tenure. His best season came in 2010, when hit .257 with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs. Young, a career .235 hitter with a .315 on-base percentage, hit a career-high 32 homers in 2007, which led to him finishing fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
The Red Sox reportedly still have interest in Ellsbury, so perhaps it isn’t time to completely shut the door on his Boston tenure. But the Scott Boras client is looking for a big payday, and the Red Sox need to start planning for life without the dynamic center fielder just in case.
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Photo via Wikipedia/Chris Young